Marriott International and the Montgomery County Volunteer Center have recognized three schools with Spirit to Serve awards for their outstanding volunteer and service programs. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 5, at the Marriott Bethesda North Hotel and Conference Center.
The Spirit to Serve awards recognize volunteers, groups and schools whose efforts have provided outstanding service to Montgomery County. Marriott International will donate $500 to each honoree's volunteer program.
Here are some examples of projects each of these schools has accomplished in the spirit to serve.
At Westover Elementary School, the principal and the student council work together to choose community service projects. For example, when they discovered there was a food shortage at a local food bank, they collected more than 1,000 pounds of canned food over a three week period. Westover Elementary students have also made placemats and baskets of toiletries for the National Adventist Senior Living Center, hosted a toy drive to support Toys for Tots, made valentines for Westover’s elementary autism classes, and wrote letters to community workers as part of Public Service Recognition Week. As part of the seven-day National Learn and Serve Challenge, Westover collected 475 pounds of clothing for Planet Aid and over $900 for Stepping Stones Shelter.
At James Hubert Blake High School, service projects involving students, faculty and parents support both local and global communities. Projects have included various school supply, food, and toy drives; local clean ups; a sandwich making project that delivered more than 1,000 sandwiches to DC Central Kitchen and two blood drives with INOVA Hospital. Other projects include the Nike Reuse a Shoe Program; Walk for the Homeless; and making and selling bracelets for the group Students Taking Action Now: Darfur. Students have also sponsored activities to educate the school community about blood cancers and the services of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In addition to taking coin and online donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, they sponsored a Bengal Ball Tournament, Dance for a Chance, and organized three restaurant nights. From these efforts, they raised more than $12,000.
At Albert Einstein High School, the school community participates in various service activities that address local, national, and international needs. A fundraiser for Heifer International helped to provide food sources for families in developing countries. Other service activities include holding a kids crafts fair; conducting several blood drives; various food, clothing, and toy drives to support local shelters; Toys for Tots; Planet Aid and UNICEF; Walk for the Homeless; Light the Night and Autism Speaks. Some Einstein students held a Halloween Extravaganza for the children at Stepping Stones Shelter where they did face painting, made crafts, baked cookies, and played games.