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The blistering sun outside on a ninety-five degree day did not stop nearly one hundred volunteers from gathering at the Ardent Academy for the Gifted Youth in Irvine, California on Saturday, September 12th, 2015 to connect with their shared passion for service. They streamed into the building, ready to learn how to best serve the community.

 

Departments of Math for Service including Math Clubs, Web Team, Tournaments, OC Science, OC Coder, OC Arts, and OC Rocketry, presented their plans for the future while connecting with prospective and current volunteers through a slough of bonding games and icebreaker activities. With each successive rotation of presentations, volunteers learned more about the organizations that they will be spending serivce hours with in the coming year.

 

Fall Festival Coordinator Michael Wu summed up the event, saying, “It was great for the first time, there are certainly aspects of it we need to work on, but overall, it was a job well done.” Kalyan Nath, a participant reflected on his experience, “I learned about the different organizations here. I knew about some of these organizations before but this event really helped open up new opportunities for me and I look forward to joining these organizations.”

 

Presenter Jun Yun of OC Science described his observations of his audience, “I think they experienced a glimpse of the community in OC Science and they connected with one another.” Volunteers across all departments engaged in team building exercises that introduced them to one another and the organizations they visited. OC Coder presenter Jessica Lee recounted her experiences with her volunteers, “They were so immersed in the activities and enthusiastic about Computer Science.”

 

As the day wound down, Tournaments, Problem Writing, and Web Team hosted packed presentations showcasing their future plans and past actions while encouraging students to express their zeal for community service. Math for Service photographer David Bao said of his experience in the Tournaments presentation, “The presentation was very informative and everyone seemed excited to volunteer.”

 

By 5:00 P.M, the nearly one hundred Math for Service volunteers left Ardent Academy equipped with knowledge of new volunteering opportunities, the skills to carry out the mission of promoting STEAM across Orange County, and the mandate to bear the torch of service throughout the 2015-2016 school year.