Continuing an on-going and much-enjoyed tradition, each week two groups of Middle School students leave campus to perform various acts of service in the community. Groups travel to places such as St. Mary’s nursing home, Fox Elementary School in Hartford, Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen, and a new addition, the Auer farm. The program is designed for the students to integrate with the community, help others, and impact the lives of those around them.
English teacher Beth Repp manages the program and has been involved for eight years. Her goal for the community service program is to help others and to make someone’s day better on a personal level. “I feel that the purpose of our service program is to widen our horizons and increase our empathy, change our perspectives and just work on becoming better people,” said Mrs. Repp.
Mrs. Repp additionally has made personal connections with people from each service site. “I have grown to care for them, I have known them for eight years! The experience has been so powerful,” she said. It has also been beneficial for the students. “I think that any kind of service landing on volunteerism is really important for the people who are volunteers, they must stretch themselves, widen their perspectives, and also to be on the receiving end,” said Mrs. Repp.
The students in the Middle School are very enthusiastic about community service trips. “It really brightens my day, all of the little kids get so excited and are so wonderful to work with,” said seventh-grader Sydney Parker. “I feel very grateful for what I have that many of these people do not have, and I am always thinking about what more I can do to help them.”
Eighth-grader Chelsea O’Donnell loves working with all age groups and improving people’s days. “The Middle School has a very awesome program, we are so fortunate,” she said. Sydney agrees. “It is so special to experience someone’s happiness,” she said.
Unfortunately, St. Mary’s Day Center is closing and will be missed by all of the students. According to Mrs. Repp, the program is seeking a replacement and additional service sites. “We are going to be doing some river clean-up in the future where we would be working to decrease our environmental litter. The planet is changing and we need to change the way that we affect the planet,” she said. She loves the community service program in the Middle School; however, she would love to grow it even larger.
Middle School students have greatly embraced this program here at KO and would love for it to continue and expand. “It puts Middle Schoolers in places or situations where they usually wouldn’t find themselves.
I think it reminds them that the world is really big and it needs help. People are going through things and we can definitely help them as one person, or as a group of people,” said Mrs. Repp.