CCA students in Williamsport receive experience by giving
CCA students have been giving back as part of a community service initiative.
A rock. A plastic foam cup. A sheet of paper and a dog treat. These everyday items mean nothing special, unless of course you’re on the giving or receiving end of an initiative taking place at CCA’s Williamsport Family Service Center. In that case, these items would mean a lot.
It all started with rocks. In October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month, rocks were painted with motivational words and sayings and placed around town for people to find as part of Rock Out Williamsport, a movement created to bring awareness to the issue of bullying.
Plastic foam cups followed. Dubbed "Snowman Soup," the cups were decorated and filled with holiday treats. On Dec. 1, World Kindness Day, these cups were given to emergency services personnel – police officers, EMTs, nurses, doctors and firefighters. Even random people who happened to be in Water Tower Square received them. Why? To promote love, kindness and happiness.
CCA students in and around Lycoming County have been giving back as part of a community service initiative organized and led by math teacher Brittany Frey.
“I started this project with the hope of getting our students more actively involved within their community because we care not just about our students but our community, too,” said Frey, who has volunteered since she was 16.
When Frey took the idea to Barry King, the STEM Conservatory manager at CCA and office lead in Williamsport, he loved it. He also loved how the mission tied into CEO Dr. Reese Flurie’s Climate of Caring challenge. The challenge focuses on building communities within communities and encouraging families to reach out to others in their region to support and mentor each other.
For students, the community service project experience, in which participation can range from six to 32, offers interaction with professionals and community members, collaboration with each other and the opportunity to develop skills in addition to those offered via online-based learning.
“Our high school students especially have benefited from interacting with professionals in the fields they have an interest in, and they have been able to add these experiences to their own resumes,” Frey said.
Other projects include decorated paper placemats donated to Meals on Wheels for Worldwide Food Service Day on Dec. 20; homemade dog treats given to students’ favorite puppies or donated to the Lycoming SPCA, on Feb. 22 for Pet Appreciation Day; and teachers and older students reading to younger community children for Read Across America Day on March 1.
“We have received such great feedback,” Frey said. “Our learning coaches and teachers love seeing the students in person and putting a face to a name, so it benefits us as teachers as well as the students. One mother even mentioned how she enjoys the projects because it allows her and her son to spend more time together.”
Plans to do a community service day once a month are underway, and Frey is looking forward to continuing the effort. “When others feel good, you feel good, too,” she said.