At the beginning of the school year, math department chair and service coordinator Jennifer Duncan put out a request for students' service activities over the summer.
Service is a core part of Santa Catalina School's mission, as well as our Catholic identity. The wide-ranging responses of our students shows that they embrace causes close to their hearts, seek out ways to give back to their communities, and share their gifts with others.
This summer I wrote letters to soldiers, helped out at the Community Partnership for Youth summer camp, and made dog treats for the SPCA, where I also served as a volunteer in the adoption center. I am also about to volunteer at a JDRF event in Salinas.
This summer I made dinner for the YWCA, a shelter for women and kids; I volunteered at the Community Partnership for Youth for a week; I made blankets for Nancy's Project; and I started to volunteer for the SPCA and made animal treats.
I was very busy and volunteered as a leader for four different camps. The first was 4-H camp, which is a very fun, weeklong camp up in the Felton mountains. This was my first year as a leader, and I enjoyed it more than being a camper! Next, I was a leader for Girl Scouts camp, and that was pure girl power! I did Girl Scouts camp during the day, and was a leader for a vacation bible school camp in Salinas at night. I was a camper at Girl Scouts and the VBS camp for as long as I can remember. Lastly, I was a leader and volunteered at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a weeklong summer camp. The camp was in the new building, which was so cool! We also did a lot of cool activities out in the environment.
Over the summer I did a couple of service events, including one where a team of volunteers packed and handed out hundreds of backpacks to kids in lower-income areas. This event took place at a community elementary school in San Francisco.
This summer I joined a Rustic Pathways program called "Come with Nothing: Mekong Adventure" (photo above). It was based in Thailand, and I spent 25 days there and in Laos. We focused on supporting self-sustainable communities that have been there for hundreds of years. They are natives of Thailand and Laos and do not receive government subsidies. We built water tanks and classrooms, and on average there were about 150 people living in each village.
I volunteered at Hope, Horses and Kids in Indian Springs. I was volunteering as a camp counselor for their various camps with kids ranging from 5 to 12 years old. I assisted in various events and groups, and with cleaning and barn chores. Hope, Horses and Kids is a nonprofit that works with mentally and physically disabled kids to help them grow and develop. One of my favorite events I helped with was when we worked with another summer camp for children and young adults with severe physical disabilities. Most of the children were in wheelchairs and had very limited mobility. We helped the kids brush, lead, paint with, and even ride the horses. My favorite part of this day was watching the kids come out of their shell and relax as they worked with the animals. I have been working with this organization off and on for nine years and it has always been an amazing experience.