Community Council holds week of service-related events

Marcella Park

Community Council organized service-related activities for every day of the week from Dec. 9 to 13, bringing back last year’s character motto, former President Thomas C. Hudnut’s saying, “Do Well and Do Good,” on a banner that hung over the quad.

To start Community Service Week, the council held a non-profit fair Monday and hosted speakers from Homeboy Industries during junior class meeting Tuesday, with a reception that followed during sixth period. Wednesday’s activity involved making care kits and writing letters to soldiers as part of the community service project Operation Gratitude, and Thursday’s was making bracelets for Camp Harmony, a camping experience for impoverished children, and a bake sale raising money for hygiene kits for homeless students. Community Service week ended with making sandwiches for St. Francis Center, which serves locals who are homeless or with low incomes, and painting welcome signs for Habitat for Humanity club.

At the non-profit fair during Monday’s break, Community Council hosted outside organizations and community service-oriented school clubs. Organizations and clubs advertised at tables in the quad using posters and flyers and by offering activities related to the kind of community service they do.

The Students Taking on Poverty club gave away piggy banks for students to decorate and fill with donations, while Helping Hands club had students decode a message in Braille or try to improve the design of the handicap sign. Helping the Homeless club asked students to make holiday cards to include in care packages for the homeless and Habitat for Humanity had students make welcome signs for homes that are to be built.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for people to get involved and it’s a lot less boring than normal activities fair because you have people actually interacting rather than just giving out candy,” Students Taking on Poverty club founder Elizabeth Goran ’15 said. “It’s actually related to the activity.”

Featured organizations from outside of school at the fair included City Year and Meals on Wheels. A representative from City Year told students about giving a year between high school and college or college and graduate school to tutor public school students with a high risk of dropping out. With Meals on Wheels students can volunteer to serve the local disabled and elderly meals for a nominal price.

The fair was the first exclusively for service-oriented organizations. Council member Cosima Elwes ’15 said the council had decided on the fair seeing it might be helpful for students to be able to sign up for a number of community service clubs in one place.

During Tuesday’s class meeting, a representative from March of the Living spoke about a trip to Poland and Israel that students can take to remember the Holocaust, and Community Council showed a video promoting the 12-hour community service requirement for the year that represented the time that could be spent serving using dimes.

Next, Freddy Chavez, who works for Homeboy Industries, a program that works with previously gang-involved or incarcerated individuals, spoke about his experiences as a gang member and how his life changed when his two children were born, describing an “epiphany” he had had while looking out of a prison window for a tree under which he could imagine sitting and reading a book. Another representative from Homeboy Industries spoke for a short time about having been in federal prison for counts of murder and attempted murder, and what a second chance had meant to her.

The reception that followed in Chalmers lounge included Homeboy Industries shirts for sale and samples of the baked goods they produce.