|A Wider Circle is a non-profit organization in Montgomery County that serves people in poverty. They have three main programs: a wellness program with workshops on basic life skills, a program which pairs volunteers with families in poverty to help them get out of their situation, and, lastly, the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program that provides home goods to families transitioning out of shelters, escaping domestic violence, or otherwise living without basic need items. We helped by folding donated clothes, sorting basic kitchen necessities, and organizing toys. It was a really rewarding experience because we could see the impact that these basic items were making on the recipients.
|The Armed Services Retirement Home provides a home for retired and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The AFRH is a modern, thriving retirement home with a focus on health and wellness. All residents have served in the U.S. military and share a common bond of defending liberty at home and abroad. Each of the AFRH communities has a Hall of Honor to celebrate our military heritage and honor all who served. Everyone visiting from Norwood is partnered with a person living at the AFRH and we go bowling with them. This is a unique experience because we get to know people who have special and unique stories, and who lived through the things that we are learning about in history.
Each year, Norwood eighth graders select a charity that is meaningful to the entire class. Throughout the year, they raise money for a class gift to the charity.
Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) is a charity our eighth grade class has grown very close to over past two years. However, we wanted the whole school to feel a connection to the organization as well. We wanted everyone to feel informed about our progress, and how we are planning to make a difference. To educate the community and spread the word, we have given presentations to students, made posters, hosted bake sales, and have incorporated donations for PEAS into school events. We are very happy and excited about the money we have raised, and want to thank you for your support of our charity.
The purpose of Food & Friends is to foster a community caring for men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses by preparing and delivering specialized meals and groceries with nutrition counseling. We organized and packed lunches for the patients. For those who decide to volunteer at Food & Friends when you’re in eighth grade, I want to say that something that I found very motivating is the fact that the employees constantly express how appreciative and thankful they are that you decided to spend your time volunteering at Food & Friends. I also suggest trying something new and stepping out of your comfort zone because packing lunches for patients with illnesses wasn’t something that I had a lot of experience with, but as I spent more time at Food & Friends I started to enjoy it so much that I asked my mom if my family and I could volunteer there during the summer.
This charity helps the elderly have a place to stay during the day while their loved ones are at work. They get to participate in physical and mental activities that keep them busy. They get a meal for lunch and when they are not doing scheduled activities, they can sit and read the newspaper. The Geriatric Day Care Center doesn’t only help its elderly residents, but also their families who are busy during the day. It gives them the comfort of knowing that their loved ones are being taken care of. Doing service there is great because you always know every time you smile at someone you made their whole day.
Katherine Thomas School provides a great educational experience for children with moderate to severe language and learning disabilities, mild to moderate autism, mild intellectual disabilities, and other health impairments. We played games like Apples to Apples and Heads Up to help with reading and speaking. We played sports like soccer, basketball, and dodgeball to help with hand-eye coordination and improving athleticism. We also stayed to talk with students at lunch and play with them during recess. The entire time we were at KTS, we had so much fun and made many new friends and memories.
When many of you think of Manna, you probably think of food drives which equal a free dress day at Norwood. This year I personally got the chance to go to Manna to see how it works. The work is very meticulous but very rewarding. You spend the majority of time sorting cans and checking dates. At the beginning when you start, there are five huge blue bins filled to the top with donated food, but by the time you’re done sorting, it’s rewarding to see what you’ve accomplished. I urge you to donate food for the impact of knowing that you gave someone food. It doesn’t have to be at Norwood but whenever possible give food and know that you are giving someone food for their family for one night, eliminating hunger one can at a time.
Martha’s Table is an organization based in Washington, DC that provides healthy food, affordable clothing, and opportunities for low-income families. In 2015, they distributed over one million meals, provided clothing to over 10,000 people in need, and provided education for over 200 children. Every night, Martha’s Table has trucks that go to different areas in DC to feed the hungry. When I went there, my group chopped a lot of vegetables that were used to make a stew that was distributed that night. I felt happy and rewarded knowing that hundreds of hungry people were going to get food that night because of what I had done that day.
|Poplar Springs is an organization dedicated to saving animals that have been treated cruelly or abused. They take animals from owners who have treated them awfully and place them in a farm where they can recover. Our group shoveled goat poop and tended to pigs. When we finished our work, we fed the animals grapes and animal crackers. This is a good charity because they are doing something about the horrible conditions that some animals are subjected to.
Red Wiggler’s mission is to have a sustained farm where people with and without disabilities can come together to grow healthy food, work, learn, and create a friendly environment. When I went to Red Wiggler with my advisory, we put up fences to protect the farm’s crops from food-seeking deer. I enjoyed this charity because it felt like we were really helping the community work together. It showed that when people really want to, they can do anything together – no matter how hard or easy the task.
When we first arrived, we prepared meals at DC Central Kitchen. The mission of DC Central Kitchen is to make over 5,000 meals a day to give to homeless shelters and nonprofit organizations. The next morning, we prepared sandwiches for homeless people residing in Franklin Park. Within minutes, the sandwiches were gone. This was one of my favorite parts because we had the chance to see the impact that we were making. Next was helping at a local community garden, which was still in the making. We helped build and carry, but also clean up by removing rocks, which would allow people to plant there. The next part of the trip included working to clean up people’s yards, by building a garden and doing some yard work that was not able to be completed by the residents that lived there.
YSOP (Youth Service Opportunities Project) engages youth, college students, and adults in meaningful service experiences through an innovative program that combines an orientation to the issues, hands-on volunteer work, and reflection. YSOP inspires participants to broaden their perspectives and become engaged citizens. Norwood volunteers prepare and serve a meal to guests. Not only do we make the food but we get to interact with the guests, which I had never done before. The guests were very kind and loved having our company. For my bat-mitzvah project I decided to donate 50 blankets and allow the guests to take a blanket to bring with them. This was very meaningful to see how much they appreciated the blankets that I had worked hard to make.