Langley university offers free help around the home and yard

Trinity Western University has about 700 students who will provide free labour on Workday.

Who couldn’t use a helping hand once in a while?

There’s hundreds of helping hands available for anybody through the Trinity Western University Workday.

On Oct. 14, about 700 students will scatter around the community to simply help others.

Typically the jobs are yard work, basic home repairs, painting, cleaning windows, or stuff that just needs a bit more muscle, but people can suggest any task.

“I think one of the most unusual jobs was an older couple who was having some real difficulties with their computer,” said Peter Woekel, TWU’s coordinator of Local Outreach, Volunteering, and Evangelism.

They got the help they needed. It turns out the computer had malware and viruses.

This is Woekel’s third year coordinating Workday and each year the number of students taking part has increased.

“It’s been incredible to see it expand in that time. Each year we’ve had about 75 additional students involved, leading up to this year which will likely be one of our biggest ever, approximately 700 students,” he said.

Most of the helpers are new students.

“About 500 of our students this year will be coming as part of their first year orientation process. The Workday or an alternative service requirement is a required part of that. Beyond that, there’s a few hundred other students who will be involved simply because they want to give back in some way. For a lot of bible-studies, dorms, rec sports teams, etc, the Workday is a great way to do some team building and give back to the community, and so they’ll decide to do it as a group,” he said.

There’s no strings attached and the work is provided free.

There are some guidelines for those wanting Workday helpers. People must register in advance by Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. so Woekel can do planning. Teams head out on the morning of Oct. 14. He will confirm jobs by Oct. 12.

Woekel tries to keep the locations within a 30-minute drive of the TWU campus, and people asking for helpers must provide all supplies and tools.

Teams of men and women are assigned to the jobs. The teams are available for three hours of work.

People can email workday@twu.ca or call 513-2121 ext. 3421. They must give their name, phone number, address of the work, details of the job, and an estimate of the minimum and maximum number of students it would take to do the work in three hours.

Last year was the closest things ever came to having to cancel and that was due to weather but it’s never been cancelled in Workdays’ 20-year history.

“Last year it was close, with the wind storm. I let hosts know ahead of time that safety was a primary concern for us, and that we might have to cancel or reschedule our jobs at the last minute,” he explained. “In the end, the Saturday morning was wet, but not too windy, and the Workday went really well.”

TWU has a variety of programs intended to help students at the private Christian university live their beliefs.

“We currently run 15 different volunteering programs in the local community, sending out close to 250 students each week,” Woekel said. “They all focus on different areas of service and need in the community, so for instance we’ve got a few that run different after-school or youth drop-in programs, a few that work with the homeless, three groups working in the prisons in different capacities, a few that work with the immigrant and refugee communities in the Lower Mainland, and a number of others.”

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