Every Saturday, I, along with roughly 15 other Pace Academy Upper School girls, wake up early and get to Pace at 8:45 a.m. We then pile into cars driven by service leaders and their moms to go to Emmaus House, a new service project where Pace students have the opportunity to spend time and play with kids at the Emmaus House’s Saturday arts programs. Saturday, Sept. 8 was no different.
After arriving at Pace and organizing the drivers, as well as a brief Starbucks run, we arrived at Emmaus House around 9:30. We got out of the car on the colorfully painted corner reading “Emmaus House” and walked up the steps to the set of four houses painted white, green, blue and yellow all in a row. We walked straight into the green house, slamming the screen door shut behind us. We were greeted by Miss Charlotte, an Emmaus House volunteer who lives in the area. She picked out three of us to go help out in the kitchen to make sure all the kids got a healthy breakfast. These volunteers helped to cook the sausage sandwiches and cut the strawberries, while others unpacked the juice boxes.
Soon, the kids started running in, coming in waves. Per usual, there were new faces as well as old. Some were shy and would wave from across the room at people they remembered, while others ran over to hug their Pace friends from previous Saturdays. By the time everyone had arrived, there were about 25 kids total.
After breakfast, Miss Charlotte gathered everyone in the back room. She started by welcoming all of us Pace volunteers. She then read off a list of art activities for the kids to do, like knitting, woodturning, and ceramics. A few kids raised their hands for each one, while we had already determined which of us would be helping with each art activity. Afterward, Miss Charlotte said that the rest of us would be going to recreation, which included me.
Everyone going to recreation went out back and piled into a van, driven by the Emmaus House adult recreation leader, for a quick three-minute drive to the neighborhood playground. A few of the older kids and Pace volunteers walked because the van was full. The playground is huge with plenty to keep the kids entertained for a few hours. Some of their favorite things to do were play on the monkey bars and swings, and there is a large field right next to a baseball field where there was almost always a group of people playing tag.
Probably the most popular structure on the playground, however, was a giant playground spinner called a roundabout. It is literally a big pole with a spinning circle on top that kids are supposed to dangle from and spin. However, the kids at Emmaus house would actually sit on top of the roundabout and spin around until someone made them get off so they could have a turn, too. The kids even got some of us Pace volunteers to try it with them, like junior Symone Sommerville and sophomore Caillin Cooke, who were both begged and coaxed into riding the roundabout.
All in all, recreation was definitely the most popular activity, and it was obvious the kids loved it. When it was time to go back to Emmaus House, everyone piled back into the van, and at Emmaus House we found the other Pace volunteers who had been doing art. At around noon we started saying goodbye to all of our new little friends, and by 12:30 we departed to return to Pace, tired, but happy to have devoted such a fun morning to helping others.
By Julia Beck, Staff Writer ’15