“We could all be in a situation where we need help. So giving help when we don’t necessarily need it, by helping others, it is a reward for yourself,” says freshmen advisor, Paula Wetmore.
Many students from IACS and advisories around the school have been participating in many different acts of community service throughout the school year. In only the 2014-2015 school year students have volunteered at the Lowell Wish Foundation, volunteered at farms, made baskets for overseas soldiers,and volunteered outside of school.
This includes members of National Honors Society, students volunteering outside of school, and community service done by different advisories.
National Honors Society
National Honors Society (NHS) is a group of students who participate in community service work and try to be good members of their community. The group has four pillars that they focus on to achieve their goals, which are scholarship, character, service, and leadership. Alyssa Brodeur talks about the main goal of NHS, “There is the goal of doing community service, have anyone displaying characteristics of NHS, making the four pillars something we think about. We’re going to have character, make sure we’re helping people out, not just get our hours, but because we’re enjoying it.” In National Honors Society, students are supposed to achieve 10 hours of community service work per semester at IACS. Students can be a part of NHS when they are in their Sophomore year. The members of NHS can complete their hours of community service by volunteering at school events like dances, volunteering at charities/organizations, and volunteering at charity fundraisers. “My first year I did a Bio Ball competition: a special olympics basketball tournament. Some of my friends and I went to Boston, and coached kids that did not really know what basketball was. So we taught them how to dribble and do layups, counting how many they made. Then there was games that went on and it was fun to interact with people,” said Brodeur, talking about one of her first acts of community service. Since National Honors Society is a school program with required hours to complete, it might be challenging to balance school work. It might sound overwhelming to students who want to participate in community service when they hear required hours. Brodeur gives her opinion on balancing school work with NHS, “I don’t think it is (challenging to balance school work). If you start early, the hours are not that hard to get.” Brodeur elaborates and discusses how to get in hours with a busy schedule, “If you can’t take all of a certain day (to do community service), that’s really hard for most people to do, but try taking half hours during lunch. That is a good way for hours to add up. If you are available a Friday night try getting hours in at a school dance.” So even a student with a busy schedule can join in community service and be a part of the community. Spending a little time doing community service at different times will add up in the future. You don’t have to spend a whole day a week during community service, it can help taking some of the time available to you to do the community service you can.
Freshmen Volunteer at the Wish Project
On the full day Wednesday of October 29, 2014, some freshman advisories went to the Lowell Wish Foundation. The Lowell Wish Foundation is part of the Wish Project. The Wish Project is an organization that raises money and items to give to charity. The Wish Project was founded by Donna Hunnewell in 2002. Freshman advisor, Paula Wetmore describes some of the jobs of the organization,“The organization collects clothing and home goods for people who are homeless or coming out of homelessness.” When the freshmen went to the Lowell Wish Foundation they participated in the community service by organizing the clothes that would be given to charity. “What the students did was fold and sort through huge bins of clothing. Then put bins for children, women, men, and toddlers by sizes,” says Wetmore. By doing this these freshman advisories have helped many people because they are helping to speed up the process of getting the clothes to people in need of them. When asked if she could foresee more community service done by freshman advisories in the future Wetmore answered, “Absolutely, I think it gives the students a feeling that they are part of something bigger and they can give back.”
Cheerleaders Help Someone’s Christmas
“Instead of doing a gift swap as a team, it felt better to give back to a family in need,” says Sophomore Cassandra Austin. There is many people around the world who don’t have much money and are struggling to take care of their loved ones. So the IACS cheer teams decided to give a hand to struggling families and give them a better Christmas. This was the second year the high school cheer team did this and the middle school cheer team’s first year helping out. The cheer teams of the middle school and high school were assigned two different families to help their Christmas. These families had a few kids that did not have much and an adult who was struggling to raise them. So the coaches asked the teams to each get something that they can contribute to put in a basket that the coaches can give to the families from the cheer team. Every cheerleader on the team participated to make sure the families had a special Christmas, so they all brought something to give to the families. In the end the baskets for the families had clothes, toys, gift cards, school supplies, etc. When asked what she thought of this act of community service and doing it again in the future, Junior Kaelyn Shelley said, “We should still do the Christmas one [community service] for the families, but if we had the option to do more community service I think that would be great!” Austin replied with a similar comment, “I definitely want to do this next year because we put smiles on a family that sure did need one.”
Why Participate in Community Service?
Why should people take the time to participate in community service. Shelley explains why she thinks community service is important, “You’re helping other people [when doing community service], you’re bettering yourself, and overall helping a community.” Other students and staff at IACS responded with statement like, it gives you a chances to give back to the community, meet new people, or even to spend time with friends. Freshman, Holly Lee explains why she enjoys participating in community service, “It’s a good way to go out and do something, while its a fun thing you can do with your friends.” Anyone can participate in community service, even if they do small things throughout the week because not everyone has the time in their schedules to spend hours a week doing community service. “People can pick up litter on the ground if they see any, to help the environment. You can donate old clothes, cans, even money to local charities,” says Lee. Even helping out around your school would be participating in community service. Shelley lists some community service she has done in the past, “[Volunteered/helped at] middle school dances, soup kitchen/homeless shelter, middle school cheer team, and other school events.” There is plenty of ways to participate in community service and can possibly bring students closer to others in their community.