Sophomore Service Program
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Instead of having the sophomore retreat this year, Mrs. Alinda thought it would be best to bring sophomores to Camden, New Jersey to volunteer this year. Sophomores were broken up into groups and traveled to Camden using the Padua vans. They helped clean up around The Cathedral, a parish in downtown Camden. The students provided sandwiches at the food shelter and played and entertained the children at the Hannam School during their recess. They also listened to speakers about their lives in Camden.
This was the first year that the sophomore service project was put into action. “The exciting thing about this year is that we are trying to do things a little different.” Mrs. Alinda said. She is aware that the sophomores are doing service to help improve the Camden community, which she hopes will help the students to have a different perspective on the concept of service. Sophomore, Glennamarie Rivers said that she found it to be a pleasant experience, “I like different kinds of service, but I really enjoyed the service program.” Glennamarie replied.
“Instead of having service hours for the students, we really are just saying, ‘By participating in one of these days that is your requirement for the year’” Mrs. Alinda stated. Although some students may prefer to do service hours, others may find more excitement in the service program. Some may not have a preference at all. Sophomore, Grace Taggart responded by stating that she definitely enjoys the service program more than service hours.
Mrs. Alinda believes the students of the class of 2018 learned much on their visits to Camden. “We have the students write reflections before departing for the ride back to Padua. The majority of the students said that they learned a lot from the people that they served. They were amazed by the gratitude the people showed just by handing them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They learned a lot from the joy and the attitude from the people around them,” Mrs. Alinda expressed. Some students were shocked by the amount of poverty they saw in Camden: “I think it was a really great experienced, and I now know what people go through that are less fortunate.” Grace Taggart commented. “I wasn’t expecting that much poverty and homelessness. There were extensive lines for sandwiches; it was pretty sad to see.”
Although sophomores are required to travel to Camden at least once this year, they had such a great experience that they hope to do it again. “I would like to go again and help people with a similar format to what we did on Sophomore Service Day” Glennamarie said. Grace agrees, “I would definitely like to go to back Camden soon.”
For the past two years, Mrs. Alinda has hosted a service retreat, where students have gone to DeSales Service Works or Remairos Center to perform acts of service and learn more about their services as well. Mrs. Alinda is pondering doing it again this spring, depending on how the service program works out, and whether students would want to participate in the retreat. If students want to do something similar to the service program once they meet their requirements, they can volunteer to go on service retreats. “I’m hoping that the students will see that if there are ways to be involved in Camden that there are ways to be involved in Wilmington” Mrs. Alinda stated. She certainly hopes that they can do the service program again next year. “So far the students have really liked it. I think overcoming any complications, this something students will look forward to in the future.”
According to Mrs. Alinda, students attended the service program with open hearts and an attitude for service, which really impressed her. She is also very grateful for how the sophomore teachers have been supporting the service program. The service program may not be easy to conduct, but it certainly brings happiness to others: fortunate and less fortunate.