Kylie Cantos ’21 is passionate about community service and thanks to support and inspiration from CEL, during the past few years she has developed “VolunTEAM,” a program to help engage and sustain teen interest in volunteering. Her program matches prospective volunteers with community non-profit needs. She organizes teens into teams based on interests and then deploys them to carry out the service activities. Kylie reached out to Charlotte Bader,Dean of Programming and Academic Support, to put in place a special service activity, Middle School students completed her survey and were grouped among three VolunTEAM, projects, either “hands-on,” “artistic,” and “caretaking.”
The “hands-on” team worked enthusiastically with Alexa Rhodes ’22 to put together more than 150 H.E.L.P.I.N.G The Homeless Backpacks, which contain personal care necessities for homeless individuals. Middle School helpers made quick work of the task, filling the backpacks for delivery to The Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission next week. ** All three major network news teams came and covered the students! **
The “artistic” and “caretaking” groups created more than 200 colorful messages and cards for the Color-A-Smile, a nonprofit organization that distributes cheerful drawings to senior citizens, our troops overseas, and anyone in need of a smile. The vibrant pages and positive messages will lift the spirits of people who have had limited personal touches during the pandemic.
Middle School students enjoyed the activities and having a taste of how good it feels to give back in communities where their kindness and optimism will have a meaningful impact. They look forward to being involved with the next VolunTEAM service projects.