Community Service Opportunities Abound


Anjela Toussant

Amanda Brown has a box in the library for yarn donations. Read the story to find out what she will do with the yarn.

Alexandra Lajo Leonardi, Staff Member

Weedsport student Amanda Brown has taken her passion for knitting and is using it to help the less fortunate this winter. She is collecting yarn and gently used scarves. Currently, she has two boxes here at the high school, one in the counseling office and one in the high school library. She also set one up at the Weedsport Free Library for the public. With the yarn, she collects she plans on knitting scarves and sending them to the national and non-profit organization: Heartfelt Scarves for One Warm Coat. This organization distributes scarves and coats to people in need of winter clothing.

As National Honor Society (NHS) application time is right around the corner, Weedsport students should start to consider community service options. Amanda’s idea is an excellent example because she took her talent and passions and put it to good use. Ideally, Weedsport students should try to follow Amanda’s lead and complete projects that they are passionate about. However, if nothing immediately comes to mind, there are still many options available, including volunteering for the Winter Festival, helping at the blood drive, and at the semi-formal. As a member of the NJHS it is your responsibility to have at least 5 hours of community service, and if you get accepted into NHS, you are expected to have 15 hours of community service. This might seem like a lot, but if you do something that you love and care about like Amanda did, time will fly.

Mrs. DeFazio, who is the director of special education and also one of the NHS advisors, discussed the importance of community service with The Johnny Green. She said, ¬®We provide students with many community service options; for instance one thing we did this year is at the very beginning of the year we had students volunteer to help teachers unpack their classrooms, another option is volunteering at the blood drive to sign people in, and to hand out snacks. We are also doing the Winter Festival this year, where we are providing free wrapping for anyone that buys gifts from the crafters, the semi-formal is also another opportunity, the planning committee decides what charity the proceeds will go to – for instance, last year we donated the proceeds to Make-A-Wish Foundation. There are many other opportunities that come up throughout the school year, like last year there were some high school students that volunteered to DJ for the middle school dance. A lot of times, teachers will ask students for help with an event or activity and that can also count for community service like tutoring. So, we do provide them with a lot of options, but if they help at their church, or agency that they work for like Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts we can take those community service hours too.”

Besides having completed community service hours, the process of becoming an NHS member includes an essay about yourself. Mrs. DeFazio’s advice on the application process is, “To make sure to provide us with a highlight of themselves in and out of school because it’s not just about the academics, it’s also the things that you do out of school like being involved in your church group or other organizations like the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter or anywhere where you are helping other people. Make sure you include all those pieces so that we can see the full student, not just a person we see in the hallways.”

When she was asked why she chose her community service project, Brown replied, “The reason is because I am someone who likes to put a lot of work and care into the things that I do, and I figured that if I’m making it myself versus just collecting only gently used scarfs, I feel like I’m putting a lot more effort into it and there’s something more caring about giving someone something handmade.”

Community Service is the best way we as students can help, and be active in our community, because even if we do small acts it creates a positive effect. It not only helps the entire community of Weedsport, but it benefits us directly because we can learn valuable lessons and life skills like leadership, responsibility, and communication. It can create friendships with the people you work with or the people that you are helping. It also leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment. Besides these benefits, if you are a student that plans on attending college, community service is a great way to make your resume stand out, or if you are planning on getting a job after high school, the leaders of the organizations can be good references when it comes time to apply for a job.