Thankfully, talking with Cannon School students Kate Sherrill and Elizabeth Rubens recently about their service projects has invirorated my faith in teens.
Each Cannon student in grades 9-12 is required to participate in at least 10 service hours a year and many exceed the requirement. Sherrill, a senior from Davidson, has nearly completed her work toward her Girl Scout Gold Award. She's been involved with the organization since kindergarten, when her mom was the Brownie troop leader at Davidson Elementary.
Community service is a touchstone of the Girl Scout organization, so Sherrill has had a lot of experience helping others. She's loved working with the Ada Jenkins Center here in town, as well as with the Friends For Life organization to get pets adopted. She recently travelled to Chicago with the Davidson United Methodist Church Senior High Choir to volunteer at a Boys and Girls Club.
She'll be presenting her final project, which has been two years in the making, to the Hornet's Nest Council in the coming months. Sherrill, whose father is a physician with the Lake Norman Free Clinic, saw that they had the need for an organizational system that could help volunteers function more effectively and receive more grants. She put together a database and also created a newsletter for the clinic.
Sherrill feels that her time in Girl Scouts has prepared her well for her future as she heads to college, hopefully to study music therapy.
Rubens, a junior from Davidson, is also community minded. She recently coordinated Cannon School's "Barefoot for Bare Feet" event at the Cannon vs. Providence Day basketball games. As part of a nationwide effort by the nonprofit organization Samaritan's Feet to benefit those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, Rubens approached coach Glen Taylor and asked if he was willing to coach - and have his players play - in bare feet.
"This was something that was really on my heart, something I felt that I needed to do," Rubens said. "This project was sending a big message of hope."
Students were asked to bring a pair of new shoes to school throughout the week, and fans brought them to the Friday night games to donate to the cause - but that was just the beginning. In addition, at halftime of each game, fans were encouraged to text a $5 donation to Samaritan's Feet. There were also announcements that ran throughout the games, heightening awareness of Samaritan's Feet's goal of providing "10 million shoes to 10 million people in 10 years."