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On Saturday, June 8, 2019, my Duke Engage group and I went to the Scrap Exchange to volunteer. For me, this was a very exciting moment because for the Durham, North Carolina, portion of this program, I am assigned to intern at the Scrap Exchange so it was very cool to show everybody where I worked everyday.

Walking towards the volunteer space, we had to first walk through the store. Since I normally work in the back, in the office areas, I do not normally get to see the store area. I had forgotten just how many cool objects and trinkets there were! I saw my group members stop to take pictures with interesting objects, or check the price of materials they wanted to use later, and I started to too, as if I didn’t come here everyday. It felt like this was my first time seeing the Scrap Exchange, just like everybody else.

Normally, I work on research and the larger art projects. But once a week, I have a service day, where my partner and I work on normal volunteer service jobs, such as collage bag-making, paint sorting, or restocking the store. During this volunteer time with my group, we were all given different jobs, and I immediately gravitated towards the collage-bag making station, because this was what I had been doing the previous week for my service day. The concept of collage-bag making was to take many donated papers and collage-making materials, such as wall paper samples, stickers, magazine pictures, and calendar pages, and put them all together into a bag to sell. I thought this was a great concept because when people make collages, sometimes it can be hard to find or buy so many different materials to assemble the collage, so allowing customers to buy all of these materials in one area for a cheap and affordable price was an innovative idea. Some of my other group members were involved in cutting felt pieces, sorting thread, and organizing cards and envelopes. This was a fun and relaxing volunteer time, where everybody could help out with the Scrap Exchange work, while chatting and getting to know each other better.

The second activity we did was to make Scrap Exchange bumper stickers out of sticker paper. This allowed for everybody to be more creative, and everybody’s stickers turned out to be very unique and colorful.

Even though I disliked waking up early on a Saturday, this volunteer activity was very fun. I also knew how much it meant to my supervisor to have everybody be so supportive and willing to help. As the Scrap Exchange gets so many donations every day, it can sometimes be hard to keep up with the enormous piles of stuff. My supervisor always stresses the importance of volunteers in a nonprofit organization like this. On Saturday, I was truly able to see what she meant.

DukeEngage Durham volunteering at the Scrap Exchange
DukeEngage Durham volunteering at the Scrap Exchange
hallway of art
Scrap Exchange’s hallway of affordable art
two girls laughing
Trouble 1 and trouble 2
paper materials
Collage Bags
lettered stickers
Scrap Exchange bumper stickers