Monthly Recap - September 2023
With cooler fall temperatures and summer vacations coming to an end, we had a very busy month in September! We held 7 work days, hosted 321 volunteers, found 27 covered markers, and reconnected 4 families with loved ones. Our volunteers included a large Interfaith group coordinated by the YMCA, a group from the UR/VCU Collaboratory, students from St. Gertrude and Benedictine College Preparatory High Schools, groups from the UR APO service fraternity, several high school students completing community service hours, and groups from Hermitage Enterprises Community Engagement Program.
The Interfaith Day of Service included about 60 volunteers from the YMCA of Greater Richmond, the Weinstein Jewish Community Center, the Sikh Association of Central Virginia, For Richmond, and Keneseth Beth Israel. The day started with a presentation that included a brief welcome message from leaders from each group. Then volunteers headed into the woods to clear and unearth markers. We spent several hours cutting brush, and we hauled several large trailers of brush out of the woods to be removed. It was a very productive day of work and a great day of fellowship.
The next large group included 140 very active and enthusiastic sophomore students from St. Gertrude and Benedictine College Preparatory High Schools. The group spent the day clearing summer growth, and they were able to uncover several markers.
One highlight from the month included a high school student completing 4 of the required 150 community service hours from his high school. We were taking a break from cutting and clearing brush, and we had the opportunity to help a family find the grave marker of a loved one. He casually mentioned, "my great-great grandparents are buried out here. My family doesn't know exactly where." Upon hearing that, we sprung into action and used the interactive map created by our Deep Run High School Center for Information Technology students. We were very quickly able to locate their graves, and our volunteer was so excited that he called his family members to let them know. Two weeks later, he and his mother, uncle, and grandparents returned to Woodland to clear their family's lot. We are excited that this will become a new tradition for newer generations of his family. We hope that he'll continue the tradition of visiting and honoring his ancestors!
We are excited that community members continue to reach out to schedule volunteer work days for their groups. We are especially thankful for the Woodland volunteers who have dedicated time to help with our larger groups; we couldn't host large groups without you. As a reminder, please consider purchasing a t-shirt to build awareness of the great work being done at Woodland using this link: https://www.bonfire.com/woodland-cemetery-volunteers/?utm_source=copy_link&utm_medium=campaign_page&utm_campaign=woodland-cemetery-volunteers&utm_content=default.