For the second year in a row, the Salvation Army of Greater Burlington’s holiday toy sort effort received a lot of help—about thirty hours’ worth of hard work—from the Infinity House at Colchester Middle School.
Eight students and four staff members worked to brighten the holidays in our community by sorting, filling, and organizing bags with age-appropriate gifts—such as books, stuffed animals, hats and mittens, and stocking stuffers—for area children in what is likely to become an annual tradition for Infinity House. Last year, the group also prepared and served a meal to some of the area’s homeless in addition to the toy sort; the students have appreciated the opportunity to participate behind the scenes in these meaningful efforts.
The entire Infinity House, which currently consists of nine students, has eagerly committed to an ambitious community service initiative of two hundred hours of collective volunteerism. In a nod to its mission statement, one of Infinity House’s expectations is that the students will choose community-based volunteer service and learning experience activities that align with their curriculum and/or personal goals. To help facilitate that, program professionals are working to match opportunities with interests the students expressed in a survey conducted earlier this year. Infinity House students have partnerships with a number of school-wide and area organizations through which they can complete volunteer service, including the Colchester Community Food Shelf, the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, the Town of Colchester’s Parks and Recreation department, and Lucy’s House, as well as others.
The truly astounding thing about Colchester and its citizens is that this sort of community spirit is not limited to the holiday season. We talk a lot about the many ways in which our school communities and our greater community support one another, and that is really important because community spirit has a snowballing effect; when our community members see our students making substantial efforts, they are more likely to support our students … and when our students feel supported, they are more likely to give back. The entire community benefits when everyone commits to making ongoing positive contributions.
Depending upon your source material, the term community can technically be defined in a number of different ways. One such definition, offered by Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, is “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” But in the end, for many people, the term community simply boils down to a feeling—a feeling of camaraderie, of shared vision, of similar desires for the present and hopes for the future.
So whether fifth graders walk against juvenile diabetes, a second grader runs for the Special Olympics, students at different schools raise money for charity in a wide variety of ways…whether everyone rolls up their sleeves to help out during disaster, volunteers revitalize a garden, or law enforcement works with our schools … and so many, many more examples, the point is that we can do amazing things when we help one other. We’re all in this together.
Thanks for joining us.
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