Leadership brings community into spirit weeks

Drives+like+Toiletries+for+Troops+demonstrate+Leaderships+commitment+to+giving+back+to+the+community.
Drives like Toiletries for Troops demonstrate Leaderships commitment to giving back to the community.

Drives like Toiletries for Troops demonstrate Leaderships commitment to giving back to the community.

Meghan Stettler

Meghan Stettler

Drives like Toiletries for Troops demonstrate Leaderships commitment to giving back to the community.

Meghan Stettler, InDepth Editor

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For the past five years, leadership is working to add an element of whole-heartedness and community involvement to student enthusiasm, using fun to teach giving back.

“I think a lot of times there’s focus only on the fun aspect–what we’re doing for spirit days, or for activities,” student body president Sheridan Manfredi said. “But I think community service acts as a good balance to that.”

Focusing heavily on the tenets of good leadership, advisers and students seek to instill a strong sense of community presence in spirit activities through partnership with thematically relevant foundations.

Given student prominence in the community, the importance of student engagement in local causes is stressed throughout planning and execution of spirit activities.

“Serving and giving back is something that every human–every high school graduate–should know,” leadership adviser Crystal Edwards said. “If we can incorporate it in a fun, themed way, students then begin to see the impact they’re having.”

Run and promoted concurrently with spirit activities, outreach efforts use student participation in spirit weeks as a means of garnering further support throughout the network of students, staff, and parents.

Activities extend past donation drives, such as the 2015 Winterfest sandwich making events, and previous collaborations with foundations like Keep Tahoe Blue or the awareness movement Dude Be Nice.

“One of the things that’s really awesome when we do things like this is when we have a hands-on activity, like the one for Winterfest,” Manfredi said. “People got to feel like they were actually helping and actually making a difference.”

Following Welcome Back Week’s theme of “Huskie Strong,” leadership partnered with Blue Star Moms, a local foundation that provides toiletries to troops. Starting that week and extending to Sept. 17, leadership organized a donation drive through Freshman Seminar and history classes, asking for common toiletry items like toothpaste and toothbrushes.

While it is more difficult to organize and supervise hands-on activities as opposed to donation drives, Leadership finds that there is greater student turn out and participation for events that entail more than dropping items off in a class.

“The more hands-on activities was can do, the better the community service goes,” Manfredi said. “People feel they have a more direct impact on the service they’re doing. It’s more about the fact that you’re helping people and the fact that you’re making an impact on people’s lives.”

Leadership hopes to increase student participation in community outreach through future events and cooperation with local causes, further incorporating service acts into school spirit.

“Our job is not just to promote spirit,” Edwards said. “It’s to support everything that’s in leadership–and that includes community service and giving back.”

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