Traditions are revered at UVA, and one of the best to emerge in recent years has been Cavaliers Care.

Initially established through the efforts of the Alumni Association, local alumni clubs and the Young Alumni Council, the Cavaliers Care program encourages alumni nationwide to perform volunteer service within their communities during the week surrounding the University’s Founder’s Day—April 13, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

UVaClubs in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Richmond launched the concept in 2000, enlisting approximately 120 alumni for service projects during Founder’s Day weekend. The following year, clubs across the country were invited to participate.

Last year, 36 clubs hosted 46 events. The UVaClub of Washington, D.C., alone held six events, including volunteering with the Shelter House Game Night, doing food preparation for the D.C. Central Kitchen, working at Habitat for Humanity’s “ReStore” and bringing an array of festivities and activities to underprivileged children and nursing homes.

While some clubs prefer activities during the Founder’s Day weekend, others coordinate multiple service opportunities throughout the Founder’s Day week. Several incorporate Cavaliers Care initiatives into their yearlong calendar of events; in December, the UVaClub of North Carolina’s Research Triangle region supported the Arthritis Foundation during its Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis in downtown Raleigh.

Ways to volunteer are endless. Cavaliers Care events have included assisting local food banks, doing landscaping and environmental cleanup, collecting donations and giving blood.

For information on how to participate in Cavaliers Care, visit uvaclubs.virginia.edu.