Strangers to Best Buddies

Mehr Singh Sports Editor “Ughh, I need to finish my community service!”… familiar words? With the end of the school year approaching, these words seemed to be taking over the hallways. I heard so many students complaining about having to complete their hours, but interestingly those complaints changed into sighs of relief when they realized they could attend a DANCE…for community service. It was unheard of! Many students eagerly attended the dance and gave up their precious Friday night to spend time with residents from Miserecordia. It was a night filled with music, food, laughter, and… beach balls. Looking through the Miserecordia 2010 album on Facebook I saw many Latin students such as Doo Kim, Conley Pollard, and Nick Lehman having a blast interacting with the residents. I talked to Doo, the chief photographer for the dance, and she explained, “ The dance was a lot of fun. I had a great time meeting the residents and talking to them. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how the dance would turn out and if it was worth giving up my night for, but after meeting everyone I knew it was worth it.” Another student that attended the dance, Conley Pollard, said, “ It didn’t feel like community service at all. It just felt like I was hanging out with some new friends.” Even though I only talked to a few people, I think its safe to say that Latin students thoroughly enjoyed the dance. The only question left is, what did the Miserecordia residents think of the dance? I started volunteering this year at Miserecordia with Ms. Alexander, a middle school teacher, by playing basketball with the residents. After getting to know the residents I wanted to talk to them and get the Miserecordia perspective on the dance. When I walked into the Miserecordia gym, last Thursday, I had planned to play some basketball with the residents and ask them about the dance after practice. Those plans quickly changed. As I was waiting with Amy Walsh, a resident at Miserecordia, on one side of the basketball court, she blurted out, “ I really liked the dance!” As soon as that comment was made I couldn’t wait till after practice to hear everyone’s thoughts on the dance and just started asking questions. As I continued talking to Amy, she went on to say, “ The people were very friendly and I danced a lot.” Another resident, Elvis(his nickname at Miserecordia) who had heard me talking to Amy, came over and showed me some of his dance moves! He said, “ They [the students] were fun to dance with. I danced like Elvis!” By this point I think the basketball coaches at Miserecordia were pretty mad at me for distracting the residents! Ignoring that fact, I talked to Andrew Althoff who suggested, “ We should have it [the dance] again soon.” After talking to the residents and understanding the Miserecordia perspective I realized that Latin students actually made a difference. Even though I have volunteered at Miserecordia for a couple months some of the residents still don’t remember my name, but they all remembered the fun they had at the dance. Most schools hold fundraisers to help out organizations and accumulate their service hours. Our school on the other hand is different. We don’t just ask for money, for example, we hold talent shows to support Haiti relief efforts. We don’t just give money to Miserecordia, we spend time with the residents and create a lasting impact.]]>