Day by Day:
No present like time, Bexley students learn
By LIZ THOMPSON
Dec 3, 2018
This Week Community News
One of the best gifts we can give someone is time.
In October, 172 Bexley (Ohio) eighth-graders heard from speakers about community projects to help them choose how to serve their town with 15 hours of service.
Crystal Carley is the seventh- and eighth-grade language-arts teacher and community-project manager for Bexley City Schools.
“I asked speakers to talk about how they married their interests with a need in their community,” Carley said. “Students listened attentively and asked relevant questions that helped them understand possible avenues for service for their project.”
Speakers included Tim White with Mid-Ohio Foodbank and Taylor Nolan with She Has a Name, whose mission is to fight human trafficking.
Student Maya Murray was surprised to hear about human trafficking in central Ohio.
“I already knew what it was but things like that are hard to think about,” she said. “As a teen, the world will soon be in our care and so it is important that we take action to stop things like this and that our parents also inform us so we can protect ourselves and help other teens … escape the abuse.”
Speakers who are parents of students included Tricia Keels, Laura Robertson-Boyd, Monique Lampke and Deborah Grayson.
Keels started Souper Heroes. The organization holds dinners across the city from October through May during which volunteers serve homemade soups to guests. Donations benefit hunger-relief organizations.
Lampke spoke on the Make-A-Wish Foundation; Grayson talked about teaching English to refugees.
“The project that interested me the most was the one with the refugees,” student Keira Murray said. “I like anything that helps with the community but especially something more direct where we can help our community and get to know the people we are helping.
“I love being able to meet and work with people and think it is especially important to hear directly from them and what their experiences are. To me, the ‘unity’ part in (the word) community is very important.”
Keira said she believes volunteering is a way to get to know more people and build stronger bonds.
“We can reach out to people and with time they might reach back,” Keira said, “and then together we will be able to make a change.”
The students also learned about the Ronald McDonald House and Salvation Army. Bexley City Schools staff member Sandi Hoover talked about mission trips to Guatemala.
Meagan Warren, a sophomore and founder of Books for Bedtime, shared about her nonprofit organization and her efforts to promote literacy.
Student Evelyn Holzhall said she was surprised there were so many charities in the heart of town. She was interested in learning about Grayson’s work with immigrants.
She learned female immigrants and members of the charity meet to talk in English about their lives and culture.
“Grayson told us one time they cooked a recipe one of the women brought in after they put it into English,” Evelyn said. “Another day, they celebrated the feast of Ramadan. The immigrant families were so welcoming they even let the charity workers into their home for the feast.”
Evelyn said she was glad to learn about the efforts, but in the end, she chose to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“I had known of it since I was 6, and it holds a place deep in my heart,” she said. “I just think it is awful for a kid to die of sickness at such a young age, but even more awful for their dreams to never come true.”
To Evelyn, volunteering assists the charities to help those in need, but it also ties her community together.
“If you give time out of your day to help members of our own community … our community would be so close and always caring for one another, and to me, that’s just awesome.”
Consider adding time to your gift list. These teens did with genuine enthusiasm.