This past September 12, Pepperdine University alumni, parents, and friends took part in service projects around campus, across the nation, and around the world as part of the 21st annual Step Forward Day.
What began as a single service project by two students has grown to engage generations of alumni, parents, and friends spanning the globe to live the motto of the University: Freely ye receive; freely give.
"Last year, the Pepperdine community served a collective 4,200 hours, equivalent to two years of work for one person," says Ashley Nolan, director of the Pepperdine Volunteer Center, who notes that she and her fellow organizers hope that 2009 will be a record-breaking year.
Now 21 years later, the reach of Step Forward Day has grown to include work with over 50 organizations spanning from Ventura County to Downtown Los Angeles and alumni chapters across the nation and world, including the aforementioned Asia Pacific Waves, who served food to more than 500 people in need in Ueno Park, located in Tokyo, Japan.
Other projects this year included a hunger drive at St. Michael's Church in New York; volunteer work in Sunshine Acres Children's Home in Mesa, Arizona; an initiative to provide meals and services for the homeless at Miriam's Kitchen in Washington, DC; and a partnership with Many Mansions to help provide housing to low-income families in Ventura County, California.