For the past five years, Avon Old Farms School has hosted/coordinated a special day for its graduating class known as Senior Day. Senior Day provides seniors with an opportunity to get out of the classroom for a day and into the community. Moreover, it promotes camaraderie and gets peers, who would otherwise not get an opportunity to work together during the year, working side by side. This year, on April 19th, 120 students participated in the event and served at two Hartford based elementary schools, helped with rebuilding efforts through ServCorps and the remaining helped out on the campus of Avon Old Farms.
Hands On Hartford coordinated the service component for 60 of the 120 seniors at the two elementary schools: Fred D. Wish and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary schools. A group of 30 students were sent to each school for approximately a half day. The majority of the students was placed in classrooms and assisted the teachers. The student volunteers even ate their lunch with their assigned class.
Because literacy has become a focal point for Avon Old Farms, a group of students were also placed in the library where some of them had an opportunity to read to students. Additionally, to further promote literacy, Avon Old Farms donated books to all of the classrooms and to the libraries at both schools. Although the student volunteers were busy in the classrooms, there was time built in for athleticism and fun. A small group of seniors, who were stationed in the gym, brought their Lacrosse equipment and demonstrated the sport to some of the children. The demonstration was a bit hit with the students.
The day was enjoyed not only by the staff/students at the schools but also by the students of Avon Old Farms. One of the students, Dan, summarizes the sentiments shared by many of his peers when he says, “Going into Hartford to the Wish school was not on the “top of the list” of things I had in mind for that day. However, after seeing what these kids were dealing with and how much happiness that one day we spent there gave them, it really opened my eyes to another world, and I had a great time.” The day was so impactful to some, that one senior has asked to return to the school where he was placed to build on the connection he made with the students and teacher in his assigned class for the month of June.
Hands On Hartford Community Engagement Program Manager