HWP spends day decorating Violence Intervention Program’s campus


Chloe Park/Chronicle

Sydney Carmel ’23 and Lou Zapata ’23 prepare for the holidays at the VIP Community Mental Health center.

Chloe Park

Harvard-Westlake Parent’s (HWP) Community Service club partnered with the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) Community Mental Health Center to host its first school-wide community service event on the VIP campus Nov. 13.

At the event, student and parent volunteers cleaned, decorated and organized food and gift donations for the VIP campus. Participants donated Christmas gifts, new books and various Thanksgiving basket items. Additionally, VIP Founder and Executive Director Astrid Heger led students on a tour of the VIP campus.

The event opened with a discussion about the ways VIP serves its community. VIP Community Outreach Coordinator Tyrone Nance said the program aims to aid those affected by emotional and physical trauma.

“Families are in distress, children are broken and lives frankly crumble under emotional trauma,” Nance said. “The mission of [VIP] is to protect and treat all victims of family violence and sexual assault. For 30 years, [VIP has] been executing and expanding that vision.”

HWP Community Service club Co-Chair Brad Kennedy ( Georgia Goldberg’23 and Katelyn Goldberg’25) said the event’s central goal was to introduce students to VIP and other local community service opportunities.

“I hope students can gain valuable perspective and develop their own engagement opportunities for a continuing relationship with VIP,” Kennedy said. “[I also hope the school’s] families, participating together, will become ongoing and regular supporters. There’s a wealth of ideas and efforts, and [there are] endless opportunities to participate, so we hope people will learn about how much [the school] does already and what our Community Service Club is highlighting this year.”

Heger said she hopes students and family treated the event as an opportunity to enjoy giving back to the community.

“The greatest joy in life is giving to others,” Heger said. “We hope that the joy is translated to everyone [who attended] the event.”