Community service continues at Belmont Hill, though altered slightly by pandemic restrictions. From February 22-26, Belmont Hill participated in Community Service Week. Advisories chose from five COVID-friendly projects: writing letters of gratitude to deployed service members, recording videos of themselves reading books for young children, creating birthday boxes, participating in a food drive, and making blankets for babies. COVID restrictions made a traditional Community Service Day unfeasible this year. So, Mrs. McDonald and Mr. George organized a week to allow for more COVID-friendly projects. The two wanted to create opportunities that helped those in need in ways other than monetary as prior service endeavors had mainly involved donations. Mrs. McDonald said she “was inspired by the Day of Giving last May, which was a less formal event where students would do practically anything community service-related” outside of school.
Additionally, students have organized projects of their own outside of school. Daniel Moran ’23 raised awareness for breast cancer through his “Think Pink” program, and accumulated $1,722 that would be donated to aid in the development of a cure. Jalen Walker ’21 and Daniel Drucker ’23 coordinated the DOVE support project, which was devoted to collecting money that would go towards the Christmas wish lists of victims of domestic abuse. Timmy McCormack ’21 and Jack Barry ’21 also collected donations for Pine Street Inn, a services provider for the homeless in New England, that would be used to create “Welcome Home” baskets for tenants who arrived at the inn. Mr. George and Mrs. McDonald hope that more students organize projects and extend the realm of Belmont Hill community service. They suggest students find causes for which they are passionate and contact potential partner organizations. Then, after conducting additional research and gathering a group of friends or others who would like to participate, they can go to Mr. George and Mrs. McDonald, who will help them brainstorm and finalize their project.
The team hopes that, through service endeavors, they can help students develop a mindset of aiding others while also teaching them organizational and even financial skills. They believe the real value in community service is that participants prioritize accommodating the needs of others without the beneficiaries returning the favor. In discussing service at Belmont Hill as a whole, Mrs. McDonald said, “I think it’s at least two-pronged: One is to serve and support organizations that are in dire need in our community. The second is to catalyze students in thinking about service in creative ways and making them hear about organizations they have never heard of.” Mr. George added that “You can do something pretty meaningful if you gather enough people and think about it ahead of time.” They will continue organizing Community Service Week and other projects so that Belmont Hill can indefinitely help others as much as possible.