The start of the new year always calls for new service opportunities. This January, students partook in various volunteer opportunities, and I asked Mr. Riemer, head of the Service Department, some questions about these events.
1.) What volunteer activities took place in January?
“We have numerous regular opportunities that we resumed after returning from the Christmas break, most notably Manna for Others, Refugee Reading Circle at McShan Elementary, and the Saturday School program at Obadiah Knight. We also began an after-school tutoring program at Nathan Adams elementary through the Commit program.
“Most notably in January the Freshman class hosted their class project – the Big Dallas Climb. We also initiated a partnership with Tom Field Elementary school – tutoring on Wednesday afternoons and on Saturdays.”
2.) What about these activities?
For the Freshmen class project, “[students] partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and participated in an event at the Bank of America tower downtown. Participants climbed the 77 flights of stairs, raising money and awareness for the number 1 cancer affecting teenagers.
“Tom Field is unique because 20% of the students are homeless. In fact they are in the process of opening of an emergency food bank and clothing distribution center on their campus to provide for the needs of the families whose children attend school there.”
3.) Overall, how do you think the activities went?
“It was a busy month for Manna for Others – we saw a sizable increase in the number of clients. But the guys came out in strong numbers, 10-15 volunteers each Saturday. Overall I think the events were a success.
“It’s also been nice to see various class levels come out in large numbers to support particular events – as was the case with the Big Dallas Climb. Not only is it important work but it’s also providing students an opportunity for fellowship and to work together for a common goal.
“It is great to see many students continuing to offer their service to familiar activities such as Manna for Others, but new activities such as the after-school tutoring at Nathan Adams and Tom Field Elementary should give students more opportunities to live out Jesuit’s moto, ‘Men for Others.'”
It is important to remember that not everyone is as lucky as we are. As a Jesuit community, it is our job to strive to change this.