Middle School Students Build Heartfelt Connections
on Community Service Day
Corbett Prep Middle School students get a practical opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.
Nov. 6, 2013 (TAMPA, Fla.) – The Community Service Day tradition is not just about what Corbett Preparatory School of IDS students can accomplish locally in one morning. It’s about developing what teacher Jeanne Rivera calls a “heart connection” with those they help.
Rivera and teacher Kat Quin have a longstanding connection with Dimples Playland, a program of Champions for Children. The teachers take the middle school volunteers to the childcare center to read to the children, play games and deliver donations. But the most important work comes in the relationships the Corbett Prep students form with the children they help.
Eighth grader Brendenn Flynn has gone to Dimples Playland each year since he was in sixth grade and looks forward to seeing the same child each time. He said the experience of volunteering there shows him how he and his classmates can have a positive effect just by taking the time to care — more important than any special skills they might bring to the table.
“Any person can be influential in someone else’s life,” Brendenn said.
Community Service Day at Corbett Prep provides Middle School with a practical opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others. Students and teachers boarded Corbett Prep school buses in their advisory groups to perform public service work at several organizations in the Tampa area. Many reached out to children, helping at Dimples Playland as well as Kid’s Clubhouse, United Cerebral Palsy, Headstart at MOSI and La Petit Academy.
One team helped at Metropolitan Ministries, while another cleaned up the grounds at Copeland Park. Other students baked cookies and muffins for Meals on Wheels and attended a few local routes to deliver meals. Teacher Maria Cardona accompanied students who volunteered at the rescue animal center called Nanny’s Educational Zoo. Students fed animals, cleaned up after them and served as animal handlers for visiting school groups. The Corbett Prep students had so much fun they wanted to stay longer.
“They were extraordinary,” Cardona said, “doing everything that was asked of them without hesitation.”
Wherever they went, the students’ hard work was appreciated. Seventh grader Ben Davis’ group was playing music to children at United Cerebral Palsy of Tampa, and the kids were dancing and smiling. At MOSI, the preschool children liked having Middle School students read with them, build blocks and do art projects, and they hugged the student volunteers before they left.
Eighth grader Mia Torres tried to think about what she enjoyed doing when she was younger so she could repeat those activities with the little children. “It felt good to make a difference in their day,” she said. “Some people aren’t as fortunate as we are, and we can give back by helping.”