Gathered inside a room at the Jackson County Clothing Center, Joan Roth told seventh-graders from St. Ambrose Catholic School about the organization’s history and what it offers to the community.
During her talk, she asked how many of the 15 students had been to the clothing center before. No hands went up.
After volunteering for an hour at the center on North Pine Street in Seymour, though, the students left with a better understanding of how it helps provide clothing to people who need it.
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In fact, Solomon Hall had such a good time that he asked Roth for a brochure and expressed interest in volunteering there again.
“It’s really important to know that the community is trying to help out, and it actually makes me want to come out more and do community service myself,” he said. “It makes me feel good that I know that I can help others knowing I would want the same help when I needed it.”
He said he liked working with his classmates to organize clothing at the center.
“It really gets you to experience the community and see what you can help to do with it,” Hall said. “No matter your age, you can still help.”
On April 3, students at the Seymour school participated in community service projects. They were supposed to be done during National Catholic Schools Week in February, but that was postponed when school was closed because of the weather.
Eighth-graders raked leaves and picked up sticks at the ball field at Gaiser Park, sixth-graders helped at Community Provisions of Jackson County Inc., fifth-graders were at Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, third- and fourth-graders were at Girls Inc. of Jackson County and kindergartners and first- and second-graders did projects at the school.
Sam Baker worked alongside the other seventh-graders at the clothing center and got a lot out of the experience.
“It makes me feel better about myself because you can help more people,” he said. “Just helping people in general makes you feel good.”
April Eaton, a social studies teacher at St. Ambrose, liked watching the students dive right in and help at the clothing center.
“You have students that have never been here before or didn’t even know this place was here,” she said. “To see that there are places out there that help people less fortunate or they can go and volunteer their time or they can donate items themselves, it really opens their eyes just to help people.”
Even though it was just an hour of their time, Eaton said it made a big difference for the clothing center.
“Just to help others, to get out in the community, don’t be afraid to help the community, especially those less fortunate,” she said of what she hoped the students took away from the experience. “You can start something like this or you can donate to places like this. Just help others and donate your time. It does help.”
Ashley Clemente and Delaney Delgadillo were among the eighth-graders helping clean up the ball field at Gaiser Park.
The weather was perfect for that activity.
“I think it’s a good thing for our community that we’re helping make it beautiful outside for people to enjoy,” Clemente said.
“We’re making it look nicer than it already is,” Delgadillo said. “We’re making it so other people can play on it and it’s more comfortable and they can enjoy it.”
Both girls understood the importance of community service while helping with the project.
“It makes the community better,” Clemente said.
“It’s a good feeling for you because you’re helping something to make it look better and feel better,” Delgadillo said.
Sixth-graders Jake Loebker and Griffin Eggers helped at the Community Provisions food pantry.
They both enjoyed their hour there.
“It’s a good deed to help out the people that are unfortunate. People need help, and we were able to give it to them,” Loebker said.
“It’s nice to help out the people that are unfortunate, and it just feels good to do this deed,” Eggers said.
St. Ambrose seventh-graders spend a lot of time volunteering at the pantry throughout the year because it’s right behind the school.
The boys look forward to doing that next school year, and they also said recently volunteering there makes them want to do more.
“It can help us later in life do this,” Loebker said.
“It could motivate you to do it more often,” Eggers said. “You can help out when you’re older, and you’ll want to help out here.”