Project Open Hand

Freshmen Help Others On Service Day

June Brenner at Project Open Hand.

On Oct. 17 freshmen clad in Pace gear traveled with their respective transitions groups around Atlanta on a day of service. From sorting and packing goods to playing with adorable children, the freshmen were introduced to an important aspect of Pace life; service learning. Students and teachers alike assisted people in need through programs like the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Books for Africa, Project Open Hand, My Sister’s House, The Easter Seals’ Guice Center, and the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children.

Accompanied by Mrs. Eden, Mr. Player, and parent volunteers, 19 students journeyed around Atlanta to help through Project Open Hand. Created in 1990, Project Open Hand assists people combating chronic diseases by supplying them with meals that are delivered directly to their homes through their Comprehensive Nutrition Care program. The Pace students helped the organization by spending the day packing and delivering nutritious meals to people in need. Freshman Andy Bainton said, “it was a lot of fun and really amazing to see the people we were giving the meals to. They were obviously touched by us coming.”

If you were to take a glance at the name for The Easter Seal’s Guice Center, one might think that you spent your time there watching seals or hunting for pastel colored eggs. Freshman Sydney Sommerville said, “We played with the children there and had a good time. Those children were adorable and it was so touching to see how joyous they were to see us.” The center has 65 locations nationally, all of which help disabled children interact in their communities and live a carefree childhood.

Another shelter chosen by for Service Day was My Sister’s House, a non-profit shelter for women and their children facing homelessness. The 24 Pace students were split into three groups that rotated between cooking in the kitchen, playing with the children, and sorting donated clothing. “I had a good time sorting the clothes and taking some thrift ones to the shed,” said freshman Bailey O’Sullivan. The freshmen had a clear affect on the children. As the students were leaving, the children at the shelter were crying and pulling at arms. “It made us feel good and accomplished. I knew we’d brightened their day,” said freshman Haley Epstein.

Fourteen girls spent a day at the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children. According to their website, “the shelter’s mission is to ease the burden of homelessness for women and children and to assist in establishing self-sufficiency by providing comprehensive education and supportive services in a manner that respects human dignity.” Students participated in packaging food and organizing the shelter’s kitchen. “It was certainly a learning experience. It felt good to help the community and people in need,” said freshman Mary Stuart Gray.

Other students, led by Ms. McCrary and Mrs. Korb, journeyed to the Atlanta Community Food Bank to assist in the packing and sorting of food for people in need. The Food Bank has been an Atlanta staple, as well as a Pace service program, for years. “We packaged over 5,000 boxes and 8,000 pounds of food in a day; it felt great. And we got candy so that was an added plus,” said freshman Jacob Queller.

The final service project chosen was Books for Africa. Eleven students spent the day sorting and packing hundreds of books that were to be shipped to children in poverty throughout Africa. “Packaging the books was just OK. It was kinda boring, honestly,” said freshman Reid Funston.

Begun by the Transitions program to introduce service to freshmen as a key component of a Pace student’s life, the service day was once again a success. “I think Service Day is a valuable thing for freshmen to participate in. It provided me with perspective on how fortunate our lives are being at Pace Academy,” said freshman Anneliese Camrud.

By Wilson Alexander, Staff Writer ’14

See more articles by Wilson Alexander

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