As the first quarter comes to a close and clubs start again, the Service Board has already worked on programs like voter registration and mask drives. But because of the pandemic, new projects are in the works. Planning these events and activities for this year posed a serious challenge to the board.
“The biggest problem was that a lot of the major activities we wanted to do got sidetracked because of COVID-19, and a lot of them are up in the air,” Fifth Form Service Board Representative Damian Ferraro said. “For example, the Buddy Walk, which we thought would happen, had to be canceled, but things like the can drive and turkey drive, which we thought wouldn’t happen, were just approved.”
Health guidelines and regulations have limited the Service Board’s activities, but Director of Service Learning Mrs. Jini Loos is still encouraged by this year’s projects, especially the more recent ones.
“We raised over 2,000 dollars on Denim Day for cancer schoolwide, which is great, and the mask drive surpassed our goal of 1,000 masks with over 2,000 masks collected,” Mrs. Loos said. “We’ll be able to spread the wealth [of masks] to the Hub of Hope and several other locations.”
“Our main priority for every single project that we do, before even thinking about the project itself, is considering safety and making sure every single thing we do is safe and it’s within the guidelines of the protocol.”Damian Ferraro ’22
Distributing service donations from events like the mask drive and can drive can be difficult to implement safely, but the Service Board has made sure it maintains the community’s well-being.
“Our main priority for every single project that we do, before even thinking about the project itself, is considering safety and making sure every single thing we do is safe and it’s within the guidelines of the protocol,” Ferraro said. “Once all that is okay, then we can do projects.”
Despite the safety-centric model, however, many civic engagement projects like tutoring have been forced to go virtual. Also, large gathering events like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day are still uncertain, although the Service Board is trying to continue these programs.
“We want to use our social media platforms to help others and to hear what they need instead of just sending them donations.”Ryan Ngo ’21
“A huge part of what we do at the Service Board is community outreach,” Sixth Form Service Board Representative Ryan Ngo said. “We want to use our social media platforms to help others and to hear what they need instead of just sending them donations.”
Outreach aside, the Service Board also has other goals for this year. It hopes to expand its range to include more people in community service and change the sentiment towards service from a feeling of obligation to a commitment to helping others.
“As a student, I would like to have something [a project] that incorporates freshmen, especially the new ones this year,” Fourth Former Robert Murray said. “I know it’s hard for them to involve themselves in activities, and they aren’t meeting many new people, so including them in a project would help a lot.”
Board members have used every opportunity to continue the positive work they do and include as many people as possible willing to help local communities.
“We just want a huge amount of participation and consistency with the student body,” Ngo said. “A huge misconception this year is that the virtual platform for clubs will put everything on a crutch, but it’s not the end. Being in-person is a huge gift, and we will take advantage of it by serving and participating.”