(Published in print: Friday, August 9, 2013)
Recorder Online Article
I have another example of local people helping others just because they want to — but this time they’re teens.
Ten Greenfield students ages 13 to 17 researched food insecurity, visited the town’s hunger-relief agencies and developed a plan to help during the month of July. The teens are also carrying that plan out.
They were part of the Green Room summer after-school program, a free program available to Greenfield residents. The program is funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant under the direction of the Collaborative for Educational Services.
“It was very inspiring to have students help at our program,” said Ari Pliskin, director of the Stone Soup Cafe, a weekly pay-what-you-can community cafe.
Ari, who was on the Green Room staff, helped connect students with community partners, including the Center for Self-Reliance, Salvation Army and Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The students learned about vegetables from Just Roots community farm and helped serve food prepared by Stone Soup Cafe.
After all their hard work, students are urging the rest of us to volunteer at local agencies, including the Salvation Army, the Center for Self-Reliance and the Stone Soup Cafe. Volunteers help prepare, serve and transport food.
What did the students learn from their experiences? Well, Greenfield High School sophomore Gail Gates said she learned that people you wouldn’t expect need food assistance.
“You don’t necessarily know when someone is hungry,” Gail said. “We’ve been trying to get people to volunteer locally, because if we volunteer, that’s more help and more hands to feed hungry people and their families.”
The other students involved were Ginny Dodge, Chelsea Farnham, Molly O’Neill, Tammy Motyka, Danny Hale, Elmas Cenjunan, Pros Sok and Marquise Suarez. Mentors were Jordan Bartley, Julian DeCarr and Victor Badea.
It does a heart good to see charitable work start so early. Keep up the good work!
If your student would like to enroll in the Green Room program for the fall, contact Jan Marciniec at 413-531-9433.