Improving a Life by What We Give

The 2017-2018 year is a big year for Dana Hall’s sophomores. This is the year when they have to complete community service hours, and everyone is itching to get a spot and begin their hours.

Every year the sophomores perform 20 hours of community service, 10 of which have to be in direct contact with people. Dana Hall provides opportunities for boarders such as weekend trips to food banks, and Dana is also in close contact with many organizations like BiNA Farms.

The year has only just begun; yet students are already in different stages of their community service completion. Some are ahead of the game and volunteered over their summer, some are half

Dana Hall Students on Amor Caritas Day sorting at Cradles to Crayons.
Photo Credit: Kristin Lindstrom

way there, and some only have the hours from the retreat and Amor Caritas Day. Kristin McCormick’ 20 states, ”I love the fact that it is required. It [community service] helps sophomores learn how to help other people and how people to people hours are different from not people to people hours.” Kristen is one of the sophomores who has only completed a few hours. Yet like so many others, she is thrilled to be a part of this commitment. Sophomores both old and new are no longer the youngest in the High School, and they show that incredibly by taking on 20+ hours of helping other people with a smile on their faces.

Even though sophomore year is the only year where service is a requirement, all the grades from 9-12 take part in some form of community service. Mimi Jarrunpattana’ 18 and Fah Keerasuntonpong”19 say, “When I completed my community service as a sophomore, I felt happy and accomplished. I would definitely do it again”. Mimi also said that she was planning on volunteering more in the summer, and she would not have thought of summer volunteering if she hadn’t completed her hours during her 10th grade year. She wouldn’t have had the time or enthusiasm to complete her hours if not for Ms Macedo.

Since she joined Dana Hall in 2000, the director of community service, Ms Macedo has always had a passion for community service and helping Dana girls strive to meet their potential in helping others. “I would like students to have a sense of urgency in the power they carry both as people who make positive impact on the world, but also as young women going out into the world to understand their potential,” she declares with confidence, for Ms Macedo’s passion for community service is unbeatable. To this day she strives to  help students find their own passion. Ms Macedo says by working with individuals, “You get to understand the issues they are addressing, the challenges the organization faces. It gives you a much more sophisticated understanding of the issues the organization is tackling.” One of those organizations is BiNA farms, a non-profit therapeutic riding center where volunteers go and help kids with disabilities learn how to ride a horse to improve themselves both physically and mentally.

The relationship between Dana Hall and BiNA Farms started “right off the bat when BiNA was founded in 2009,” reflects Jenna Kaplan, the associate director of the therapeutic riding center. “It wouldn’t be possible without the Dana Hall students” she says with a smile.  Jenna is very excited to have new volunteers help out with the kids this year. She says that when volunteers help people who are the same age as them, they are more of a peer than a helper, but since some, if not most of these kids are significantly younger than the volunteers, they look up to them as role models and thoroughly enjoy when the volunteers come. “There are many weeks in the summer without the girls, and the riders look forward to having the volunteers [back],” Jenna remarks. BiNA farms is a great way for the entire Dana Hall community to get together and help kids feel more confident with themselves.

Whether its Dana Hall, BiNA farms, or anything in between, everyone has the same goal: to help each other help make the world be the best possible place to live in. I, for one think BiNA farms is a great place to volunteer. I am trying BiNA farms out as a sophomore, and I know that I will continue my volunteering for as long as I can. Thanks to the 20 hours I will be completing this year, I can expand my volunteer hours to more organizations, and I hope to make volunteering a part of my everyday life.

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