By Liam Farrell ’04
Senior Alumni Editor
There are beaches, there are restaurants and bars, and there’s just a little football game to be played tomorrow, but Notre Dame alumni and fans turned out in force to help out a community in Miami today.
Nearly 300 people, including volunteers from the University of Alabama, helped create a community garden in the historic Overtown neighborhood. Volunteers at the project, which was run in cooperation with local social service agencies Roots in the City and Camillus House, constructed raised beds for vegetables, put down sod, and harvested produce.
“Thanks for your passion,” Dolly Duffy ’84, the executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association, told the Irish and Crimson Tide workers. “Today we were honored to do this project hand in hand and make a difference.”
By the end of the day, an empty lot with cinder blocks was transformed into rows of blue, gold, red, and white-lined garden plots.
The historically black Overtown neighborhood was once a vibrant cultural center but was divided by a freeway and has fallen on difficult times, said Dr. Marvin Dunn, the founder of Roots in the City.
“We have never had this many people out here,” Dunn said. “It is just amazing.”
John Callaghan ’76 and his daughter, Katie ’12, were two of the many Notre Dame alumni who helped make the project a success.
“We were really enthused to participate,” he said. “We thought it would be a great way to give back to the city of Miami.”
John, who was at the 1973 Sugar Bowl when Notre Dame defeated Alabama for a national championship, is hoping for a repeat but noted the service project brought both sides together.
“It’s a huge rivalry and it is good for people to get together before the game,” he said. “These two schools have a lot of collegiality.”
Father Paul Kollman, C.S.C, ’84, ’90 M. Div., said service projects around big events like bowl games are an example of the University’s mission.
“At Notre Dame, we really seek to educate mind and heart,” he said. “For something like this to happen, is everything we want. It is just inspiring.”
The project concluded with a visit from the Notre Dame cheerleaders and University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., ’76, ’78 M.A.
“We are proud to be here with you,” he said. ‘Whatever happens on Monday, this is a victory for us all.”
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