Johns Hopkins volunteers pitch in for ninth annual President's Day of Service

Video: David Schmelick and Len Turner

Volunteers from Johns Hopkins University traveled to more than 35 sites across Baltimore on Saturday to lend a hand during the ninth annual President's Day of Service.

About 1,400 people registered in advance of the event, which is supported by the Hopkins Parents Fund.

Before the participants boarded buses to head to their volunteer sites, JHU President Ronald J. Daniels addressed volunteers at the O'Connor Rec Center. He spoke about the origin of the event, crediting his wife, faculty member Joanne Rosen, with coming up with the idea that would eventually grow to become the President's Day of Service.

He also said he hoped the day would inspire students to be more engaged in the community.

"We're motivated by a sense that we want to get outside of ourselves and to share the good fortune we have—the energy, the ideas, the passions, the optimism we have with others," Daniels said. "So, at one level, this is about altruism. I truly think that's a part of what drives us here."

Daniels and Rosen worked at several sites on Saturday, including Second Chance, a nonprofit that collects donations from home deconstruction while providing workforce development training to people in need; and A Book Thing, a Baltimore bookstore that is currently closed after a fire.

The President's Day of Service coincided this year with a charity bike race at the Homewood campus hosted by the 24 Foundation, with proceeds from that 24-hour event supporting cancer navigation and survivorship services.

Following their service, volunteers returned to campus for pizza and reflection, as well as discussion about how they can stay involved.

"I hope that in addition to being in Baltimore for Hopkins … you will, like us, discover that the trajectory is deeper and broader, and that the city of Baltimore feels far more like your home," Rosen said. "I hope you will treat this as the on-ramp to ways of being incredibly involved and engaged while you're here."