More than 300 Democracy Prep Charter High School (DPCHS) scholars participated in the Day of Service across New York City before the Thanksgiving holiday break. Scholars were divided into small groups and then completed a community service project at one of many locations throughout the city.
The community service projects varied widely. Several scholars helped set up the library at HPMS. 50 scholars beautified parks such as Van Cortlandt Park, Central Park, and Randall’s Island Park. Other scholars delivered meals to homebound senior citizens.
DPCHS senior Brianna Campbell was one of the scholars volunteering to deliver meals with the Carter Burden Network on the Upper East Side. She could tell immediately that she and her partners were having a positive impact.
“We went to deliver meals to elderly people who were unable to come to Carter Burden and get it themselves,” said Campbell. “They looked pretty happy to see us. They were hungry, they had their doors open, and they were ready to get the food.”
Day of Service is an opportunity for scholars to reflect on the role of service in their own lives and in their communities.
“My favorite part about today was walking around and delivering food to people who couldn’t come and get it themselves,” said Campbell. “When I get older, I hope that if I’m ever in that circumstance, people can come and bring me food.”
For DPCHS senior Emani Sanders, delivering meals with Carter Burden for Day of Service was a chance to give back in the spirit of Thanksgiving.
“To me, Day of Service means helping people who can’t help themselves,” said Sanders. “That is really important to me. It’s Thanksgiving, and they can’t come out, so it warmed my heart that I was able to help them and put a smile on their face.”
The legacy of Day of Service extends beyond just one community service project. College Access and Success Counselor Sade Porter has already seen two instances of scholars continuing their relationship with the community organization they volunteered with for Day of Service.
Porter described how DPCHS senior Aiesha Thomas wrote an email to DPCHS leadership during the Thanksgiving Break describing her positive experience at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis center (GMHC).
“It has been her favorite service trip thus far while at Democracy Prep,” said Porter. “I have partnered up with another senior who is interested in having the facilitators at GMHC present at Democracy Prep Health Day at DPCHS for his Change the World Project.”
For Porter, Day of Service is a key component of Democracy Prep culture.
“Day of Service is so crucial to our mission here at Democracy Prep because it teaches our scholars the true meaning behind being active citizens within their greater community,” said Porter.