By Alexa Sadowski, Staff Writer
Christmas is a time for family and friends, happiness and laughter. For those in need, however, it can be a difficult time of year. The SCOPE council, led by faculty members Tracey Andrejko and Melissa Whelan, organized service activities, drives and donations to help the greater community while other clubs and students volunteered in additional ways throughout the holiday season.
“We realized how crucial it is to help those less fortunate than us, especially during the holiday season,” said SCOPE chair Diana Bilotta. “We all took it upon ourselves to really make the most of every council meeting and kept in contact with all of the organizations we were working with.”
On Dec. 6, the SCOPE Council hosted a Holiday Express Christmas party for Family Resource Associates (FRA) students, most of whom have disabilities. Ten Trinity Hall students as well as some faculty members volunteered to serve dinner and spend time with the students by dancing and getting into the Christmas spirit.
“I always say giving back to the community is giving back to yourself, and you get a warm feeling inside when you do good for others, and I think that it’s really great,” said sophomore volunteer Grace Shimkus. “And you don’t do the good deeds just to get something in return; doing [good] gives you that true feeling when you do the deeds just because you want to.”
Students continued their service participation through the month of December, collecting and donating various items to spread Christmas cheer throughout Monmouth County. Gift bags with coloring utensils, coloring books, fuzzy socks, chapstick, and duffel bags were delivered to families at the children’s unit at Monmouth Medical Center while pajamas were donated to teenage girls in a local group home. In advisory, students filled bags to the brim with children’s toys and decorated them with stickers for students at the Red Bank Primary School.
“Watching the entire Trinity Hall community come together during an extremely busy holiday season just really shows how important it is to us to serve not just our own school community, but the world as a whole,” Bilotta said. “It was really humbling and amazing to see everyone pitch in for a greater cause.”
In addition to these SCOPE service activities, SADD club members and other students volunteered to cook and serve at the SADD Dinner for the Troops at CBA on Dec. 5 to raise funds for the Lt. Dennis Zilinski Foundation. Also in December, four Spanish 3 and 4 students used their language skills to assist Spanish-speaking families at the Tower Hill School in Red Bank during a holiday event hosted by Lunch Break. Juniors Kelly Cusick, Anna Phillips and Gillian Thorp and freshman Leighton Van Wagner served as translators to help families make their children’s wishes come true.