Southland youth give back to their communities

2014-02-10T00:00:00Z Southland youth give back to their communitiesMary Ann Thornton Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 10, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Everybody can be great because anybody can serve ... you only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Dr. King was right. Anybody can serve, and this is exactly what our South Holland students are doing for their community.

Young people are giving back, meaningfully, and building relationships in their community and abroad.

Calvary Academy, a private Christian school located in South Holland, encourages students to connect with the community by scheduling time for local and global mission work. On a local level, students volunteer time at Restoration Ministries Thrift Store and coordinate a toy drive to benefit low-income families. Their global outreach includes such activities as hosting dollar drives to benefit meaningful charitable causes in Africa and Asia.

School District 151’s Coolidge Middle School, located in Phoenix, Ill., maintains several student groups that engage in volunteer service programs and activities. These groups are Coolidge Ladies of Academic Success and Service, Student Council, National Junior Honor Society, and SWAP (Coolidge Students with Academic Pride).

Among their many service projects, Coolidge Ladies of Academic Success and Service give of their time packing food boxes at the Richton Park Food Pantry. Student Council supports health-related causes, such as breast cancer and diabetes awareness. Last year, students made breast cancer ribbons, which were sold to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and they sponsored a “Stop Diabetes” campaign.

Coolidge’s National Junior Honor Society students took on community beautification projects, including raking leaves and cleaning property for senior citizens in Phoenix. SWAP helped to feed the homeless at the Harvey Church of Christ.

Students from Calvin Christian School in South Holland served at the “Feed My Starving Children” program and raised $2,500 for needed supplies for Caminito de Jesus (Pathway to Jesus School) in the Dominican Republican, among other volunteer activities.

The National Junior Honor Society students at South Holland School District 150’s McKinley School volunteer their time at the annual “Read It and Sleep” event. They also mentor their younger peers, as well as run a homework help program for fourth- and fifth-grade McKinley students.

Student Council at Christ Our Savior Catholic School in South Holland hosted a “Red Ribbon Week” to raise awareness of drug prevention and anti-bullying. They also conducted a “Warm the Souls” project, collecting hats, scarves, gloves, mittens and socks for Catholic Charities, and held a Thanksgiving food drive.

Seton Academy, a private Catholic high school in South Holland, has a long list of volunteer service activities. Locally, students coordinate a community food drive to benefit the local Catholic Charities Food Pantry. They also host walk-a-thons to benefit cerebral palsy and Special Olympics.

At the global level, Seton Student Council and National Honor Society raised funds in support of victims of the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Students of Thornton High School District 205 (Thornwood, Thornridge and Thornton) provide their helping hands at the Thornton Township Food Pantry, as well as engage in multiple community food drives, including one hosted by the city of Harvey and Restoration Ministries.

District 205 student groups, such as A Few Good Men and the National Honor Society, also read stories to toddlers at the South Holland Kinder Care and work with special needs students during the Special Olympics games.

There are so many more meaningful volunteer service activities that I could list, but I think you get the point. We have good young people in the village of South Holland and the Chicago Southland region. They are doing wonderful things and giving back to the community.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. Mary Ann Thornton is communications manager for the village of South Holland. She can be reached at mat39@comcast.net.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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