By Nicole LoRusso, Editor-In-Chief
Instead of attending their usual classes on April 22, all Trinity Hall students participated in the first school-wide Service Day by spending that morning doing various service work around the community then gathering back at school to share and reflect on their experience. The organizations where the girls volunteered included Project Paul, Lunch Break, Harbor School, Ronald McDonald House, King James Care Center and Sisters Academy, while some remained at Trinity Hall to improve the campus.
Melissa Whelan, humanities teacher and service club advisor, worked with service club members to plan Service Day by determining which organization to partner with and contacting them to schedule the activities.
“The organizations were chosen because of interest. We wanted them to be diverse to have different ministries covered during the Service Day,” Whelan said.
Once the locations were decided, students were assigned to locations based on their individual interests and researched their assigned organizations to have background knowledge before volunteering.
While at Lunch Break, an organization that strives to provide food, clothing and support for the less fortunate in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, students sorted both clothing and food items after getting the chance to listen to the inspirational story behind Lunch Break.
“At Lunch Break I helped sort the food that was going bad from what was still good to use,” sophomore Abby Marcin said. “This was not only an enjoyable experience but also an experience where I saw so many generous people. The volunteers at Lunch Break are so incredible and they make you feel so welcome.”
Similar to Lunch Break, Project PAUL (Poor, Alienated, Unemployed, Lonely) is a food pantry and a thrift store that also offers financial and educational support for those in need. Students sorted, hung and tagged clothes for the thrift store in addition to sorting food in the pantry.
Sophomore Mackenzie Knox enjoyed her experience at the Ronald McDonald House in Long Branch. “Going to the Ronald McDonald House was inspiring. I loved getting to explore the house and seeing the different kinds of rooms. Each were themed, so there was a Paris room and a beach room,” Knox said.
Students that volunteered at the King James Care Center, a local nursing home, helped in the garden and interacted with the residents. “The most enjoyable part for me was getting the chance to brighten people’s day. We allowed for a change in their schedule, and I was able to make a friend,” sophomore Erica O’Kelly said.
Students also interacted with people in need at the Harbor School, a school that provides the necessary care and attention to children with special needs. The girls assisted in classrooms for teenagers and helped the Harbor School students decorate a flower pots and play games.
“It was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun interacting with the kids. We had the opportunity to watch them practice for their performance of The Wizard of Oz, which I thought was very special,” sophomore Grace Molloy said.
While most of the students enjoyed the opportunity to serve outside of Trinity Hall, a few girls stayed on campus in order to plant flowers and clean up the school. Whether they remained at Trinity Hall or traveled to nearby locations, the students took advantage of Service Day and focused on benefiting their community.
“It was a learning experience for all of us, and it really opened my eyes,” Marcin said.
After seeing the success of the inaugural day of service, Whelan hopes that the event will become annual, giving the students an opportunity to continue serving their community.