Day of Service
Charlene Rauch — an English teacher at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School — spent the morning of Oct. 5 painting a platform, landing and staircase at the Impact Thrift Store at 987 Bethlehem Pike in Montgomery Township.
“I hate painting,” said Rauch, adding that she learned the skill working at her father’s sign store. “But I don’t mind doing it once in a while for a good cause.”
Rauch and seven students spent the day volunteering at the store as part of the school’s Service Day.
Instead of attending classes, all of the school’s students worked at 25 local agencies throughout Montgomery County and Philadelphia, according to Jay Gordon, Christopher Dock’s advancement associate.
Held every other year, the service day is intended to help students learn to bridge the gap beyond abstract concepts and real life situations, according to Principal Conrad Swartzentruber.
“We believe we have been called to be faithful to God’s call,” he said. “Part of that is helping young people learn to think beyond themselves.”
Overall, the program is expected to provide more than 20,000 volunteer hours, according to Rauch.
“It’s all about giving back and being kind,” she said. “Eventually, the students are going to live in this community. They need to understand how it works.”
The students also helped accept and organize the donations as well as sort and price items inside the store, according to Tamika Miller, Impact’s community outreach coordinator.
“We have a few people on vacation, so we need all the hands we can get,” Miller said. “We need as many hands as possible.”
Morgan Croissette, a sophomore from Quakertown kneeling next to the teacher, said she likes the idea of giving back.
“I don’t mind the painting,” Croissette said. “I like art. And it feels good to know you are helping other people.”
At St. Mary Manor, located at 701 Lansdale Avenue in Lansdale, 20 students completed a fall cleanup of an outside courtyard and decorated the facility for Halloween.
“This relationship is good for us and the students,” said Laurel Murphy, the facility’s volunteer coordinator.
“When the students interact with the residents, it puts a smile on their faces. The residents light up like Christmas trees.”
The students also vol- unteered at the Lansdale branch of the North Penn YMCA, the North Penn Valley Boys & Girls Club, Elm Terrace Gardens and Community Housing Services in Lansdale, according to the information provided by Gordon.
They gave their time at the Keystone Opportunity Center and the Material Resource Center in Souderton as well as the Mennonite Heritage Center and the Indian Valley YMCA in Harleysville.
“Service is an important part of our school, curriculum and community,” Swartzentruber said.
Christopher Dock students Anna Martin, left, and Seth Detweiler help to decorate a dining room at St. Mary Manor in Lansdale during Service Day Oct. 5.
Students Euca You, left, Angie Rittenhouse and Jared Hunsinger work at St. Mary Manor in Lansdale during Christopher Dock’s Service Day.