High school volunteers value community service role
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) students are making a difference. At school and throughout the Martha's Vineyard community many young people are contributing through volunteerism.
Their numerous activities include recycling and other projects to help the environment, doing chores and yard work for the elderly, donating blood, raising money for good causes, working with younger children, and offering supportive services to fellow students.
"These are the things that make them good people, not just good students," said Steven Nixon, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School principal. "All of us can testify to the students that come back five, ten years later, to visit, and they're good people."
"They become good people because they had that base here, and I think that's something that shouldn't be overlooked in [education], involving the students in the community, and the community in the school," he added.
For Eileen McLaughlin, 83, a recent act of kindness by four students gave her a new look on life outside her apartment at Woodside Village in Oak Bluffs.
While working on a school community garden project on the Island Elderly Housing (IEH) grounds where Woodside Village is located, Lisa Wilson and her friends Alexandra Ferland, Max Martin, and Kayla Montambault took time out to transplant a tree to Ms. McLaughlin's front yard.
"I live in a parking lot - the cars are almost nose to nose with my living room and bedroom windows, and when the sun hits the windshields, it goes right in my windows," Ms. McLaughlin said. "It's wonderful now -
I can look out and see the tree, and every day I watch the birds. I really want the kids to get credit for this, because what matters is their spirit. They were so happy doing it."
A community garden germinates
Lisa Wilson became interested in a school garden after talking to students at another high who started one. Student Roots, a new garden club, sprouted from the initial meeting she organized among about 25 interested Martha's Vineyard Regional High School students and faculty members.
Lisa's seed of an idea for a school garden blossomed into a collaborative project between teens and senior citizens at Woodside Village.