Service Program Advances
The Pace Service Learning Program is evolving, adding new and meaningful service projects to the already impressive list. Zeena Lattouf, Pace alumna and student body president in 2011-2012, now directs the program for the Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School. Service leaders senior Zoe Weitzner, juniors Cameron Perchik and Marissa Schwarz and I as a sophomore have worked tirelessly to bring the Zaban Paradies Center to Pace Academy.
Previously known as the Temple Zaban Night Shelter for the Homeless, the Zaban Paradies Center started in 1984 in Atlanta. When created, it was the first shelter for homeless couples without children in Atlanta. Many struggling people are separated from spouses or partners because of safety reasons and end up staying on the streets, but the Zaban Paradies Center provides a place for couples to stay until they can find a more permanent residence.
The center provides beds, food, basic necessities and assistance while teaching people how to live independently. The couples shelter can hold about 22 couples and helps up to 55 couples a year, and the organization is dependent on volunteers. The Zaban Paradies Center is located next to The Temple at 1605 Peachtree Road in the Selig Building.
We as service leaders are ecstatic that we get to bring a part of our everyday lives to Pace. “I used to intern there when I was their Facebook manager,” said Marissa. “Even though it was an awe-inspiring job to be helping in any way I could, I wanted to do more. I loved going there and meeting all the couples so much I had to start a service club so the people at Pace could have the experiences I had volunteering for them.”
Cameron, Marissa and I are members of The Temple; we have seen the Zaban Paradies Center across the street for many years and have always been eager to help. Zoe’s mom has aided the center a lot throughout the year and is very familiar with it. “Communication-wise it was a lot of talking to other people about setting up dates in advance and we needed to find the money to pay for sandwiches, but I’ve worked there before and I find it interesting that it is one of the only couple shelters in Georgia,” said Zoe.
The service opportunities for this program are once a month after school in the Pace cafeteria. There, volunteers can make sandwiches and get to know how the Zaban Paradies Center is really trying to make a change. There are also opportunities during the weekend where volunteers can go to the actual shelter and interact with the people whom they are impacting. “It’s an amazing idea and I hope everyone will join us because we as Pace students can learn so much from the couples there,” said Cameron. “They can impact our lives as much as we impact theirs. I hope that the club becomes popular enough that it will continue growing and running for many years.”