Community is a phrase that can be used to describe a group of people with something in common, however, at West Catholic Prep, it is something much bigger. As a LaSallian school, serving others is at the core of what we do. It teaches students to be more compassionate towards others, grateful for the things they have, and lets them feel proud of the work they are doing. Providing students with meaningful community service opportunities allows them to evoke change in the lives of those they are serving and help make the world a better place.
Throughout the holiday season, our students have gone above and beyond to serve those in our backyard. Some of the organizations that the students have worked with include the LaSallian Youth Homeless Outreach, St. Francis Inn, Greater Bible Way Temple, and Lucien E. Blackwell Center.
In the past few months, members of LaSallian Youth head to Center City to serve meals and distribute clothing to the homeless. “We make a positive impact when we go and it’s a reminder to those we serve that someone cares about them. Sometimes the little things are what makes the biggest difference.” exclaims junior, Rinaah Aquaye.
West Catholic’s National Honor Society members travel to the Kensington area of Philadelphia to volunteer with St. Francis Inn. Students assist with cooking, serving meals, and preparing tables for the next round of guests to come into the dining hall. Students even donated clothing to keep these Philadelphia residents warm during the colder seasons. Senior, Ethan Fletcher says, “I love putting a smile on everyone’s faces. They’re always so grateful. It’s nice to care for people who usually aren’t not taken care of.”
Greater Bible Way Temple in West Philadelphia was destroyed in a fire and has since began to rebuild itself. Students donated almost $1,000 which was presented to Bishop Benjamin Peterson to assist with rebuilding the historic church. For Rinaah, “service should be a natural instinct to help someone when you see they need help. Not helping the community means nothing will get better…it only stays the same.”
Finally, West Catholic Prep’s Student Council partnered with the The Lucien E. Blackwell Community Center. Students and families donated toys for young boys and girls, whose families are experiencing financial hardship. “The communities I’ve been involved in have given so much to me and I want to give back because I’ve received so much,” says Ethan.
Numerous faculty and staff help to coordinate and chaperone the trips. According to Brother Kyle Mena, who is the moderator of Student Council, the trips are uplifting for him and provide the students an opportunity to bond. “It has been a heart touching and faith enriching experience to witness our students’ dedication to service. The rides to and from the service site gives the group time to have lighthearted conversation about their work with others,” comments Br. Kyle.
Br. Dave Deradoorian who coordinates the homeless outreach community service adds, “Students are always ready and willing to take up the opportunity to contribute their time and effort towards all of our service projects. To work next to them and witness their commitment is a reminder that Christ is among us.”