On Monday and Tuesday, students traveled to worksites in the city and beyond, including DC Central Kitchen, So Others Might Eat (SOME), Iona Senior Services, Martha’s Table, Central Union Mission, Nourish Now, and A Wider Circle. They stayed overnight on Monday at the Youth Service Opportunities Project headquarters in downtown D.C.
“It’s nice to pop the Potomac bubble,” said Audrey Quint ’22, who served lunch to guests at SOME. “There are more people out there, and we should help them.”
Matías Heitner ’22 worked the checkout counter at Martha’s Outfitters, the clothes and housewares division of Martha’s Table. Heitner, who speaks Spanish, was able to translate for non-English speaking clients. The experience engaging with homeless and impoverished residents was transformative, he said.
As volunteers with YSOP, students had the opportunity to prepare a meal they would serve and share alongside 40 guests. Students whipped up lasagna, stir fry, potato salad, garlic bread and more; set up the social hall with place settings and snacks; and decorated and stuffed goodie bags for guests to take home.
The trip has become a tradition for St. Andrew’s middle schoolers and is a cornerstone for the eighth-grade theme of leadership through service.
From here, students will have the opportunity to continue tackling the issues of homelessness and food insecurity by designing a Positive Leadership Initiative project in their advisory groups. Previous PLI projects include a sandwich-making drive for Martha’s Table, a toiletry collection for A Wider Circle, and a Valentine’s Day Candygram sale for Oasis, a senior services center in Bethesda.
Kate Craig ’22 said the annual trip to YSOP is important because serving others is part of St. Andrew’s identity as a community.
“It brings people together, especially when you’re helping other people,” Craig said. “There’s a (belief) in this community that people should help other people.”