Students make a difference in the Ames community through CyServe Day


Emily Hammer/Iowa State Daily

Junior Cat Rudolph and freshman AnnaMarie McAuliff cut fleece for tie blankets for Project Linus as part of CyServe Day. 

More than 100 students spent their Saturday morning volunteering at CyServe Council’s annual CyServe Day event.

CyServe Day was originally a part of VEISHEA and in 2014 became its own standalone event.

At the event this year, students were able to sign up to volunteer with different organizations throughout Ames, including Project Linus, Days for Girls, Overflow Thrift Store and Reiman Gardens.

Project Linus

One of the organizations students could volunteer with was Project Linus. Project Linus has many locations in the United States and, with the aid of many volunteers, makes and distributes handmade blankets to youth around the country.

The student volunteers made single layer tie blankets that will be collected by the Central Iowa Project Linus, with many of the blankets made at the event going to the Head Start Preschool program. On CyServe Day, the volunteers made approximately 90 blankets.

Other organizations Central Iowa Project Linus distribute blankets to include Mary Greeley Medical Center, Youth and Shelter Services and Broadlawns Medical Center. Central Iowa Project Linus distributes on average 1,500 blankets per year between these and other organizations in Iowa.

Days for Girls

Students could also volunteer with Days for Girls. Days for Girls is an international organization that helps to provide young women in developing countries with washable, reusable feminine hygiene products.

“The concept behind the name Days for Girls is that these girls, when they are on their period for the month, they often stay home and they’ll live it out at home … By creating these feminine hygiene products for these girls is giving them days of their lives back,” said Kat Fellenz, one of the student volunteers.

During their time volunteering, students helped the Ames chapter to cut printed fabric and stitch the pieces together to make reusable pads. The volunteers then assembled the kits, containing soap, wash clothes and pads that were made.

“You’re giving your time so that other girls can get their time back,” said Fellenz.


Volunteers helped organize the thrift store’s warehouse pricing, labeling and organizing donations before they went out on the sales floor. Overflow’s profits from donation sales are given to orphans, widows and the vulnerable.

Kristian Peterson, senior in child, adult and family services, volunteered hanging donated baby linens.

“Overflow has a unique way of giving back especially to orphans and other organizations.” Peterson said. “As a nonprofit business I know a lot of them rely on volunteers and there are jobs that need to get done and I love to help.”

Kaitlyn Barnes, sophomore in chemistry, said, “Volunteering is also a great way to motivate others to give back too, showing we all can do our part.”

Reiman Gardens

Because of the cold weather volunteers resorted to working inside helping clean and sterilize plant pots for reuse.

Josiah Moore, graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, said, “Using what we are able to do is a great way to give back. Especially when there are other people who can’t; I believe if I can I should.”

Sharon Rink, horticulturist at Reiman Gardens, was in charge of supervising the volunteers.

“This is a very social time for volunteers to come together and make a difference in the community while helping us with our sustainability project.” Rink said. “Part of our sustainability initiative is reusing the pots so we don’t contribute more plastic to the growing landfills and we also save money.”