Today’s blog post is by Ashley Keyes, Public Relations and Events Coordinator for Communities In Schools of the Charleston Area, South Carolina.
What makes Communities In Schools so special is not only that site coordinators, volunteers, and businesses come together to help students graduate, but that the students also learn about the value of giving back. Edelena Smith is a site coordinator at North Charleston High School in North Charleston, S.C. Smith and the 38 other site coordinators in the Charleston area find community engagement opportunities for students throughout the year.
Smith and nine North Charleston High School Cougars signed on to be volunteers for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heart Walk this past September 29. The students raised the bar and took volunteerism to another level. The momentum started building even before the event when the students decided to do some fundraising. Keep in mind that we don’t encourage students to raise money. But the students felt strongly about the need to spread the word about heart disease. They sold wristbands while recruiting other students to help on the actual day of the Heart Walk. After a few short weeks of selling, the students raised $86 and were ready for the big event on Sept. 29.
The morning began at 6:30 a.m. when the students reported to Liberty Square in our Historic Downtown Charleston area. The young men and women worked hard hanging “Start” and “Finish” banners, blowing up balloons and hanging hearts all over the square. Then they assisted the staff of AHA by directing vendors to their proper location, and informing participants and the surrounding community of the timeline of events. You would think that after all of that, the students wouldn’t have energy left to do anything else. But they were so determined to finish their role as volunteers that they hiked three miles to help with traffic, and then cheered on the walkers!
Smith said that the Cougars worked diligently to support those fighting heart disease. This experience inspired the students to contribute to the cause during the school year. Instead of using elevators or cars when they don’t have to, they will “Walk to Save Hearts.”
What an impact we are making on our students, and what an even BIGGER impact our students are making on us.