Community Service ~Nathan Soukup

Participating in community service events will change people in many ways. Throughout my years of community service, I have learned to be grateful for living in a great community full of people willing to help each other.

I have participated in many community service projects throughout the years, but the one that really means the most to me is helping out with the Memorial Day service. Some people say that the Memorial Day service my town provides is the best service of the year. I have been helping out with this service for many years. Helping out with the Memorial Day service has become a tradition for my family. Back when I was in fifth grade, my parents got an email asking for help with the service. Every year since then, I have been helping out with the service. On the day of the service, I would wake up early to set up chairs flags for the service. After a few hours of hard work, the Memorial Day service ends up being a success every year.

Helping the community by participating in this community service event has made me realize how simple and easy it is to help the community. By helping set up the Memorial Day service, I have had a positive impact in the community service. Being engaged in community service helps me become a better person by helping those who are in need. By participating in community service, volunteers will acquire life skills and provide help to those who need it the most. By helping the community, you are able to enhance you enhance your personal knowledge. While I participate in community service, am able to learn and grow from my experiences. While doing community service, I am making a positive contribution to my community. I love participating in community service because I am able to make a difference in my community. By doing community service, I am making a difference in the world.

By participating in community service, I was able to have a positive impact and become a leader in my community.

Heading Home ~ Owen Heaton

This year, the Fenn ninth grade is taking a bigger role in community service. We are doing this by participating in The Jefferson Awards Foundation which is a program that guides us through the steps of how to make a better world and then to make a final presentation and essay on how we helped make our community a better place. When we were told about this project, most of the grade didn’t respond well and refused to help, but after this winter conference, it changed almost everyone’s minds.

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” Bertrand Russell. For me, good is helping someone in need without drawing attention to yourself. For example, if you are going around helping people to only get compliments then you are only seeking pleasure for yourself, but if you walk by someone who drops their groceries or something and you turn around to help them, then that’s good. Good could also be translated as improving someone’s state of being. This could be by donating food to someone, or to an organization that distributes the food. Another example is donating clothes or mattresses to families in need of them. Overall good can be many things, but they all come from the same root, not drawing attention to yourself.

One good memory is when I was at Heading Home. It was a cold sunny day in the Boston area. My brother, my mom, and I were pulling up to a parking spot almost right next to the Uhaul truck full of furniture and utilities. We were a little late so I ran out of the car and joined the meeting of how the day is going to pan out. We had two hours for furniture and cleaning and then the homeless family is not homeless anymore.

Our first step was to clean the apartment on the third floor of a tight staircase. I bought cleaning supplies for the windows, so I and a couple friends power washed the windows while other cleaned the kitchen and bedrooms. We also had a quick doughnut break after cleaning.

The furniture was up next and the group of five I was in was assigned to the girl’s room, who was five I think.  We first brought up the bed frame and rugs which were a breeze and began to put that together while other finalized cleaning the dressers people donated. We then brought up the mattress which took really long because the staircase was so tight. Since this girl liked ballerinas and pink we covered her walls with some stickers of them. We put some books in her room as well as many hangers for her closet and pink covers for her bed.

At the end of the day, when the family came walking in, I felt so proud of myself. Seeing the family start to cry in joy, and the two kids bounce up and down, almost made me cry. I learned that day, that everything you do has an impact on at least someone else.


Service ~Izak Murphy

Whenever you do community service, you know that you have helped someone in some way. The biggest project that the kids in our SIA group have done was probably organizing the open table can drive. This doesn’t seem like a very big thing but it really is. The amount of food we had before and after the 9th grade got involved is a massive difference. Before there were maybe 2 boxes filled a little with some food. After we stepped in and started urging people to get involved and getting involved ourselves, there were many, many more full boxes. I myself went to a grocery store with another 9th grader and we stood outside for at least 3 hours and collected donations from people going in and out of the grocery store. It was a very great experience because every time someone puts a donation into the box, you know that that’s another person that can eat. It’s really great to collect food and things like that because you know that every little bit helps and for each box of pasta we got, there would be someone in a little bit who didn’t have enough food being very grateful for something we take for granted like a box of pasta. I think that another massive thing that we learned is that the little things that are we always take for granted like canned food can make a huge difference in someone’s life. A can of beans could be the difference to someone between starving and not being as hungry whereas to us it’s just something that sits on the pantry shelf waiting until we’re hungry enough to make beans. Our group has not done any world changing projects but I like to think that we are changing the world one little bit at a time. I think that the most defining moment in our group’s community services this year would probably be again the open table food pantry can drive the organization. The biggest moment fro that would be when we got together as a grade and were looking at how much food we had gotten so far and realized that there really wasn’t much and that we really needed to step in and get people motivated to donate. We were all in a meeting together and were not really getting anywhere until we all came to a stop and realized just that. We had a little time left and in that time we really came together as a group and figured out what we could do. We had groups working on posters to put up, we had groups at the pick up and drop off area talking to people, we did a presentation the other grades in all school meeting, the 9th grade class went to the 4th grade classes and talked to them about what they could do because the 4th graders were usually the readiest and willing to help, and we had an assortment of other groups doing other things to spread the word and get people motivated. I think that our efforts really paid off and we did a very good job. I think that if we can do this more on our own and not need a lot of people to do this and more people are already motivated than we would have a lot fewer problems in the world because there would be so many more people willing and ready to help out the people that needed it.


Giving Back ~Jackson Morgan

Giving back to the less fortunate is something everyone should do. Giving back to the community holds a community together. People who give back not only help the people they are giving back to, but they can help themselves, helping other people just makes you feel so good about yourself. I haven’t done much service to talk about, but I’ve learned by just the very little I did what a difference it makes, to the people we helped. Not only that, but I learned that being a good leader helps a lot, and doing service grows your leadership skills.

Leadership isn’t something that comes naturally. It is something that is developed. In SIA this year I think that my group and I really developed our leadership skills. At the SIA conferences, we went through many games and challenges that helped really grow my leadership skills.It wasn’t just SIA, in fact, I think that I developed my leadership skills in school as well by being placed in a leadership position. As a 9th grader here I was really in a position to be a leader and having never been in a position like this before I really had to step up. All of the younger kids look at us, so we need to be our best. Also as a 9th grader on the football team and one of the very few returning players I was elected captain, and that also put me in a leadership position. This really helped me grow as a leader because instead of teaching me how to be a leader, I was put right into a leadership position. Once I had these leadership skills I was able to really use them to help out.

In community service, a little can go a long way. To be completely honest I do not think I did much in the way of service. I think that I could have done a lot more for the community and I didn’t. There is one thing I did that really helped out the community. As a grade, we helped plan for the canned food drive. This is something we were all very passionate about. Hunger is a real problem in our world, and it is something we are trying to fix. We figured that if the food drive was really going to take off we needed to give it a little push, so we rallied together, and came up with a plan, to get the whole school motivated to help out. We came up with a few important facts and went first to the fourth, and fifth graders to tell them why they need to help, and what they can do, and then we went to the sixth and seventh graders, and did the same thing. This really showed how far our leadership skills had come, and it helped make one of the biggest food drives Fenn had done.

Giving back to the community is one of the most important things to do as a citizen, and it is one of the best feelings too. The most memorable moment for me doing service this year wasn’t actually doing the service but finding out how many people we had helped out by our service. After the canned food drive, we found out that we had helped over 100 people eat for weeks. That is about a third of our school’s population, and that blew my mind. It made me feel like I had really made a difference in the community, and it might not be that much but to feed those people it means the world, and that makes me happy. It also showed that hard work really pays off in the end, as a grade, we had put a lot of time into this and learning that we had really made a difference really made it all worth.

Over the course of this year, I grew as a leader; I used my leadership skills to give back, I was able to make a big difference in my community.

Difference ~Nico Bowden

“The most important service to others is service to those who are not like yourself”

~ J. Irwin Miller

Service is an essential part of human life, especially for those who find themselves to be more fortunate than others.  It is up to these people, who do not need much help, to give help to those who do. However, philanthropy is a little more complicated than that.  A philanthropist does not just do service as if it is his job.  A true worker for the greater good helps in a way both personal to him or herself and effective to solving the problem at hand.  This involves three things, which come hand in hand.  The first is caring for the problem.  As Thoreau wrote, “There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.”  Thoreau states that when people do service without true incentive, others can tell and know that the person has an illegitimate cause for the work they are doing.  Whenever you do something for the greater good, you must have a personal reason for it and a real care for what you are doing or else people will see right through your good deeds.  Another thing Thoreau mentioned is the fact that to have a real care for a problem you have to have experienced it first hand.  It is easier to learn with first-hand experience, so the best way to help something is to know the problem.  This is the second aspect of philanthropy.  Without knowing what the problem is, how could anyone possibly know how to help? The better you know the problem, the clearer the path to fixing it is.  Once you know what you have to do because of this, the second important aspect is working hard.  Nothing will get done without true commitment and work.  So, philanthropy is complicated.  There are many problems in the world and they are not easy to fix.  However, the common characteristics of those who have made huge differences are the ones mentioned above; having a care for the cause, having first-hand experience, and working hard.
Whenever we brainstormed on what we were going to do for our projects, we always considered what would truly make the largest difference.  One of the ideas we came up with was to spend time with kids from the inner city and just let them have fun.  While we never ended up doing this, we figured that it would be something with a more lasting effect than donating some clothes or food.  Food would deplete, memories would not.  Because of this, our idea of what truly “effects” people is not limited by material possessions, but by what we give to them that does not have a price tag on it.  Something meaningful that might change their view of the world and help in the future rather than give them something to use until it runs out or they grow out of it.  The things that last forever are what, in the end, will make the most difference.  I guess, in hindsight, we could have done a better job of focusing on things like this.  We focused too much on accelerating the current projects at the school, which we did well, but not enough on what would matter ten or fifteen or fifty years from now.  People do not remember food or clothes, they remember experiences.  So, if I had any advice to give next year’s class, it would be to focus on this and make sure that whatever you are doing, it makes an eternal difference.
Reflecting on what we did do, our difference was marginally increased on what the school would have done anyway.  Basically, all of the things we did, i.e Food drive, Walk for Hunger and heading home, were already projects our school participated in annually, excluding Cradles to Crayons.  This is not to say we did not make a difference.  In all of these, as mentioned before, we accelerated the progress of all these causes by a large margin.  So, the difference we made then would include us advertising to bring in around 60% of the food drive donations in the last few days, adding enthusiasm for people to do the walk for hunger, which will be a huge event later in the year, and Cradles to Crayons where we also made a large advertising campaign and helped raise donations by standing outside and asking people to donate.  This helped bring in more clothes than we could handle.  Because of all this, the difference we made was substantial by any measure.  Without us, any of these projects would have been far less successful and therefore we have something to be proud of.  However, we could have done things a little differently.
Many people in the grade are disappointed about what we did end up accomplishing.  Most people think we should have done more and that comes from our lack of originality.  If we could have done one more project outside what the school already did, I think we would have a much larger sense of accomplishment.  It would not even have to be something really big and challenging, but just something under our belts that we knew was all us.  This would make a huge difference.  So, in the end, success cannot be measured by cans, clothes, or toys, but by what those are used for and how they are attained.  What I learned is that originality is key for everything, including a sense of accomplishment.

Essay in reflection ~ Jack Folz

This year when Fenn decided to enroll their 9th grade in the Students In Action program we did know what to expect. Walking into the small conference room we thought we didn’t belong but as the year went on we became more and more familiar with the environment around us. Throughout the year we have spent hours trying to come up with a plan. Students In Action required us to make our own community service plan and help the community around us. We decided as a grade that we would do three major projects, leading the annual Canned Food Drive, helping out with Cradles to Crayons and volunteering in Heading Home.

One of the first projects the ninth grade took part in was leading the annual canned food drive. Every single year the school runs a canned food drive but from what we notice it lacks the kid’s enthusiasm. It seems like no one really spends time out of their day to collect food for the drive. Our goal as a ninth grade was to bring excitement to the drive. Using our great leadership skills we were able to run a very successful drive. The majority of our work came in the last week of the drive where we needed that final push to reach our goal. What we did is we went into 4th-7th-grade advisories and talked to the kids about the importance of helping your community. We talked about the Concord Food Pantry and how there are many families without food on the table during the holiday season. We encouraged the kids to go out and collect food from your friends and families. We also had kids stand out by the drop off circle informing parents on the drive which we are running. Overall it was a very successful drive, we collected a ton of food which we brought to the Concord Food Pantry. We had provided food for many families that could not afford it. The annual canned food drive was a great way to start the year but we could not wait to do more things.

Our next project that we did was a Cradles to Crayons drive that took place in January. Cradles to crayons is an organization that helps give clothes to families that can not afford them. The point of our drive was to collect winter jackets and clothes for families that are in need of some winter clothes. What we did was get two big bins from cradles to crayons and stand outside the drop off circle to inform students and parents about the drive we are running. We then made announcements in all school meeting about how many kids don’t have winter coats or a home to get warm. We had one of the employees at cradles to crayons come in and give a presentation as well. Our goal for these announcements was to bring awareness to the situation and get people thinking about what we can donate. For a way to cap off the drive, Fenn brought many kids over to the cradles to crayons warehouse where we sorted clothes into bins to bring to families. This was a way to see where the clothes we donated go. After the drive was over we thanked the school on a very successful drive. Overall we exceeded the amount of clothes we could have Imagined for this drive. This was the second thing the ninth grade has done this year for students and action and we were determined to come up with more ideas.

The last project the ninth grade was going to take on was heading home. Heading home is an organization that helps homeless families move into an apartment and then the people who volunteer help provide furniture for the home. When you are volunteering you go to the new families home and help clean and furnish the area. We spend the morning in Boston with our classmates helping to make a family’s dream come true. The best part is seeing the reaction on the families face when they see there new home. Over my three years of doing heading home I have seen a variety of reactions. The mom or dad usually break down into tears and the kids will be very excited. Heading home is a great way to work together and make someones day. Since heading home has not happened yet this year we have not done anything yet but we have been planning in our class meetings. What we plan to do is motivate students to come help us in Boston. We will go into advisories and talk to students about helping the community. We will also make announcements at all school meeting and stand outside collecting items for the home. Overall we plan to be able to furnish two homes in Boston. This is always one of my favorite community service projects and I can’t wait to do it for the fourth time at Fenn. I have loved hearing the families story as well has seeing their reaction when they walk into there new home.

This has been an amazing year in community service mainly due to the help and motivation of Student in action. I have loved collecting cans for the food drive, giving winter jackets to kids in need and helping move a family into their new home.