Oct 312004
Authors: Sara Bahnson

Through the City of Fort Collins’ Adopt-a-Neighbor program, CSU

students and Fort Collins residents can lend a helping hand to a

community member in need.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet someone in your neighborhood

and possibly someone from another generation,” said Wendy Hartzell,

administrative assistant at the City of Fort Collins Neighborhood

Resources Office. “It’s a way to give something back to the

community that doesn’t take a lot of time.”

Last year, approximately 12 CSU student volunteered in the

Adopt-a-Neighbor program. Amy Fox, a sophomore business/finance

major, participated last year and is planning on helping out a

neighbor in need again this year.

“I think the Adopt-a-Neighbor program is a good way to link the

college campus to the Fort Collins community,” Fox said. “We treat

the community members like family.”

Volunteers assist Fort Collins residents with lawn-mowing,

leaf-raking, snow-shoveling and other yard work. Many of the

residents who receive the volunteer services are physically unable

to do the work and/or cannot pay to have it done, Hartzell


“The goal is to keep these people in the home for safety reasons

and to comply with city ordinances that require driveways to be

shoveled, for example,” Hartzell said.

If a Fort Collins community member needs help with yard work,

the Neighborhood Resources Office will send 15 to 20 letters to

neighbors around the resident’s home.

“If no one is available, the resident may be matched with a CSU

student who is willing to drive to the resident’s home,” Hartzell


Once the matches have been made, Adopt-a-Neighbor volunteers and

their assigned resident meet throughout the year as yard work is


“We encourage volunteers to stick with the resident for the

whole season,” Hartzell said.

Kelly Conright, a junior business management major, will

volunteer in the Adopt-a-Neighbor program this year and has

participated in a similar program in the past.

“It was really nice knowing that these people really appreciated

your help,” Conright said. “It was a good way to show (the

community member) that you really do care.”

Anyone can participate in the Adopt-a-Neighbor program, however

volunteers younger 18 must have parental consent. Applications are

available on the City of Fort Collins Web site, www.fcgov.com.

Hartzell said that not only do the residents benefit from the

Adopt-a-Neighbor program but the volunteers also reap rewards.

“I think that any time you do something for the community you

feel good about yourself,” Hartzell said. “The residents are just

so appreciative.”

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