“Volunteers are love in motion.” – Anonymous
The spring is a season of celebration for our students and families. For many students, it is their last year in high school. This year Reality Changers helped 376 seniors transition into their first year in college. Among all the teens who prepared for their SAT and ACT tests and attended our 18th Annual Scholarship Celebration, students still made time to give back to their community. Thanks to our community partners, our students completed 2,472 hours so far this year!
During the month of May and June, Reality Changers student volunteers returned to Traveling Stories, where they helped children outsmart poverty through literacy. Youth read with children at the organization’s annual event Comic Con Art Show and City Heights local Farmers Market. Children paired with Reality Changers students to read their favorite books.
We ended our academic year at the Spring Valley Library. In partnership with the branch under a Book-to-Action grant, students learned about various topics and causes in their backyard. From January to June, students learned about mental health, journalism, zines, 3D printing, and social justice. The Book-to-Action grant helps libraries create service-learning programs that connect literacy and community service. Libraries choose a book on a topic of interest to their community and enlist a partner agency to create a volunteer activity that addresses the topic. The book’s author is invited to speak and then the community is invited to participate in the volunteer activity. On March 24, we met Kate Schatz, author of our chosen book, Rad American Women A-Z.
In May, students learned from an immigrant woman who uses zines to tell her story. Zines are homemade magazines created by authors who share narratives and images not typically seen in popular magazines. Afterward, students created their own zines to share their own narratives and illustrations. Youth also learned about the importance and history of journalism. We ended our visit by cleaning the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the area surrounding the branch does not have accessible waste bins or resources to keep the area clean. Our students showed their volunteer love by cleaning up the trash. While doing so, many community members thanked the students for their work. Impact is more deeply felt when the community directly thanks our students for their contributions.
In June, teens learned the ins-and-outs of 3D printing and walked away with personalized keychains. A huge thank you to the Spring Valley Library for hosting our students for the last six months.
For more on Reality Changers’ community service events and what we are doing in the community, visit the calendar on our website at RealityChangers.org. For current posting on our community service weekends visit us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.