Sharon Harezga (front), School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical
Sciences senior research administrator, and Rebecca Luciano,
Graduate Medical Education financial analyst, paint a community
room in the basement of Bristol Homes, an assisted living
As Jennifer Berryman landscaped the front lawn of Bristol Homes
on Wednesday, she remembered painting the nonprofit assisted living
facility a year earlier.
“Coming here this morning, the apartments we painted still
look wonderful,” she said. “They are going to look
great for a long time.”
Berryman, an executive assistant in the UB School of Pharmacy
and Pharmaceutical Sciences, has been volunteering at Bristol Homes
for the past three years as part of Western New York's Day of
Caring. For her, the reward is seeing the long-term effect of her
On Wednesday, Berryman was one of more than 200 UB volunteers
who turned out for the 21st annual Day of Caring. The event,
organized by United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, mobilizes
thousands of people to complete hands-on community service projects
in the region.
UB has participated for 19 of the past 21 years, and this
Wednesday's turnout of 220 UB volunteers was a record, according to
Amy Myszka, UB’s volunteer coordinator and director of
Wellness and Work/Life Balance.
Bristol Homes was one of 16 sites that UB employees visited,
completing tasks from pulling weeds to organizing dishes in the
Some volunteers had personal reasons for taking part.
“I came from a not-for-profit field that received Day of
Caring help, so when an opportunity came to give back, it was an
awesome way to complete the cycle,” said Lauren Garlapo,
accreditation administrator in the Office of Graduate Medical
Education. Garlapo also volunteered at Bristol Homes.
The assisted living facility’s activities director, Beth
Mack, expressed her gratitude for the work put in by the UB
community. Bristol Homes has a small staff, “so we could
never get all of this done on our own,” Mack said.
“United Way is very gracious in getting volunteers here. It
helps us out quite a bit.”
In addition to veteran volunteers, students in the UB MBA
program participated in Day of Caring this year as part of their
orientation, helping to bring the number of UB workers to an
“It just makes the city a better place,” said Jim
Gordon, a lead programmer/analyst from University Libraries, as he
pulled a rake through the garden at Compass House, a shelter for
“We’re in our office bubble day in and day
out,” and the Day of Caring is a great way to get out into
the community, said Colleen Allen, director of human resources in
the Office of Graduate Medical Education.
With more than 3,500 volunteers from across Western New York
donating time and energy through this year’s Day of Caring,
Garlapo summed up the sentiment that many participants were
feeling: “If everyone does just a small part, the whole world
is better for it.”