Totino- Grace Junior Taylor Holewa would describe her service work as “beneficial, free hearted, open minded.” This semester she is participating in a Service and Justice class which is fairly new to the Religion Department. This class focuses on the injustices in our world and how we will change that through doing service work. By the end of the semester, students need to have a minimum of twenty hours with one specific charity, but the more hours the better. Students are able to pick their charity and they will be reflecting on their experiences by updating their own google site specifically for this class and the service aspect.
Taylor is doing her service work at an agency called East Side Neighborhood Services. She works with children from Kindergarten through Fifth grade. “My family has always been apart of this agency ever since my grandpa became the first director of East Side,” replied Taylor on how she decided to do her service at East Side. She has already volunteered over forty hours and plans to continue her service work this summer and hopefully for the rest of her high school career.
Taylor’s most memorable moment was when she made brownies with a three little boys. “We got to make brownies, cookies, and many different types of food. We all poured in the ingredients and at the end I told them they could lick the bowl and a little boy named Jason took his whole hand in the bowl (covered in chocolate) and put his hand on his face and smeared the chocolate everywhere. Then the other two boys thought it was a good idea, so they decided to do it. We could not stop looking at how funny they looked.”
Holewa’s hardest moment at East Side was when she was giving a little girl food while she was telling Taylor that she does not get fed at home because her mom eats all of it and saves nothing for her. “Hearing her cry and talk about how hard it is for her to get food really hit me hard because I can go home after practice and have a snack and then have dinner knowing that there are other people who do not get to have dinner on the table.”
This charity is in most need of money to send the kids to a camp for a week during the summer that teaches them the values of life and to learn about the outdoors. They are always in need of volunteers and welcome them with grateful hearts! Taylor would recommend this charity to future students taking the class, “This is a great agency to be a part of, the kids are amazing and the staff is incredible, I would not want to do my service anywhere else.”
Through her service, Taylor has learned a lot about herself. “I have learned to never take anything for granted. Lots of these kids do not get the love and attention that little kids need on a daily basis. Knowing I come home to wonderful parents who love me and that is something I am very grateful for. I also learned to always look on the positive side of things instead of the negative because these kids, despite everything they go through on a daily basis, are always happy and always want to learn new things, this is something I can put towards having motivation to do homework or daily tasks.”
If you are interested in volunteering or donating to East Side Neighborhood Services, you can visit their website: http://www.esns.org/
If you are looking for more volunteer options, Doing Good Together is a great option, their website is: http://www.doinggoodtogether.org/family-volunteering-twin-cities/