The members of Walden Grove High School Service Leadership are compassionate individuals interested in making a change for the betterment of their peers, their school and their community. These thoughtful, skilled, and reflective practitioners are equipped with the skills to effect social change.
The club began last year with about seven students and has grown to about 20 regular participants. Students meet Monday and Friday during lunch. Any student expressing a desire to help others may participate.
This year, the students in the club were able to attend We Day in California. We Day brings together world renowned speakers and performers in support of youth who are fulfilling the role of active citizens making a change for the better in their local and global communities.
In order to attend We Day, students must earn admittance tickets through service. The WGHS Service Leadership club had to take on one local action and one global action and report back to Free The Children to earn their way to this event.
In just a year and a half these students took on an extensive list of service projects. Some of the club’s projects include:
- 170 Operation Christmas Child boxes,
- Adoption of 5 families through Wings for Women
- Hosted 2 dances for Silver Springs retirement and The Peaks retirement homes
- Volunteered with Special Olympics
- Conducted a Spread the Word to End the Word campaign
- Participated in the International Day Without Shoes to raise awareness about poverty in other countries
- Hosted a Be Kind week
- Put together an emergency response team with World Care
- Volunteered at Survival Fest
- Supported SHS Do Something club through a jeans collection and formal dresses for the Cinderella Project
- Organized a shoe drive and volunteered with Youth on Their Own
Teacher Krista Gypton recalls from the flight to California, “We had to touch down in Vegas to let some of the passengers off and pick up new ones before heading on to Oakland. The flight attendant again spoke to the plane about how incredible our kids were and made a joke about them helping to clean the plane during the stop. Our kids were immediately up and picking up trash, folding seatbelts, without being asked. They all just jumped up and started. I wish that I could have gotten a picture of the flight attendants faces! The plane was cleaned up and ready to welcome new flyers in minutes.”
The return trip was no different.
“Our last flight out of Vegas on the way home was delayed for two hours. I said that I bet it was really hard for the flight attendants when planes are delayed because travelers are usually grumpier than usual. They took it on themselves to write personal letters to each of the crew members. They wrote poems and recited them to the attendants. One attendant was in tears and hugged all our kids. They were so thankful for the thoughtfulness and I was reminded for about the millionth time in the past 3 days how incredibly blessed I am to work with these amazing humans,” said Gypton.
What is next for this group of enthusiastic students? They are volunteering at The Peaks for their Banjo Celebration. The last quarter of the school year, they will coordinate and host a Be Kind Week and A Day Without Shoes.
This group of incredible students has become more aware of social issues and the tools and resources they need to respond and become part of the solution. They are committed to devoting their time and talents to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Next year Service Leadership will be more than a club at Walden Grove High School. It will be an actual class that will facilitate leadership learning and skill building for public service, strengthen community service efforts, and increase awareness of citizenship.