Over a dozen juniors and seniors use their 7th bell to volunteer at places all over the community. Volunteers go to Amity Elementary, Holmes Elementary, Carriage Courts Retirement Home, and many actually volunteer in classrooms at the high school.
Maria Duffy is a junior at the high school who volunteers in Señora Taylor’s classroom to help with her Spanish I class. She has been volunteering there since the beginning of the school year, and found it nice to still be immersed in Spanish, even though she wasn’t able to take the class this year. Duffy assumes the role of the teacher through studying with the kids and helping with homework.
“You have to truly get to know [the kids] to know how they work, and you have to keep an open mind,” Duffy said.
Many freshmen and sophomores who have simply heard things about the Communiserve program are curious about how it works, and want to know whether it is worth all the hype.
“Do it. If you even think about doing it, just do it. It’s life changing, it puts you in a different perspective and it really teaches you about people and social skills,” Duffy said.
Tracy Smith is an Intervention Specialist who works closely with junior high students that opted out of taking an elective during 7th bell, and instead chose to have extra time for schoolwork and studying. Smith has had volunteers in her classroom since Communiserve first started, and has been part of the outside-of-school volunteer program for even longer.
“In our community, because I’m a teacher I know the educational benefits [of Communiserve]. I know that some students have gone to Holmes or Amity and helped students there. [It’s] kind of like a big brother or big sister program. I think anyone who signs up for Communiserve knows that they’re going to give back to their community. [Whether] you do it within the school or you go into the community and help, I think it is an all-around wonderful, excellent program,” Smith said.
Troy Bosse, a senior at Deer Park, is the volunteer who works with the students in Smith’s classroom. They check their planbooks at the beginning of the bell, do grade checks weekly, and then work on schoolwork from subjects such as Math, Science, English, and Social Studies.
“I’m hoping eventually these 8th graders will grow up and become high school students that want to give back again to 8th graders. That’s my goal. Communiserve is a great thing, it’s a great elective class. You give help but then you also get a lot back in return,” Smith said.
Katelyn Laux is a junior at the high school who volunteers at Carriage Courts Retirement Home, specifically the Memory Care Department. She works closely with the elderly, including those that have Dementia.
“It’s just a really neat experience and it’s something that I think everyone should have the opportunity and chance to do because it opens your mind to different things and you can encounter different things that you never would’ve thought [possible],” Laux said.
Volunteering is definitely something one must experience to understand, but whether it’s within the school, the community, or the city, it’s important to keep an open mind about other people’s way of life.