Milton High School started requiring students to do community service in the 1996-1997 school year “to develop and instill in all students a sense of citizenship, community and the responsibilities that good citizens demonstrate by giving back to the community,” the student handbook says.
Rebecca Simms, a senior at Milton High, agrees that she benefits from her volunteer work as much as she contributes. She has volunteered at the Museum of Science in Boston, a nursing home in Natick, and now the emergency room at Milton Hospital — and has gained valuable skills that will help her when she studies nursing at the University of Massachusetts Boston next year, she said.
“I would definitely keep doing it, even if there wasn’t a requirement,” she said. “I think it’s really important to volunteer and help people who need help. I think it’s a good way to spend my time instead of doing something that’s not as productive. And it’s fun.”
Three students at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham provided fun for their entire school with their community service initiative. Freshman Abby Rouleau of Hingham — whose uncle Dr. Frank Duggan spends most of his year volunteering in Third World countries — and seniors Hannah Paradise of Scituate and Marissa Gildea of Cohasset led their school in collecting 2,779 coats for needy people as part of a competition sponsored by Mix 104.1 radio station.
Notre Dame Academy won, and the prize was a January concert at the school by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
“It was just amazing,” Rouleau said of both the concert and the coat drive. “I’d come home some days, and I would have bags of coats on my front door from my neighbors. At school, people would come in with bags every morning. We had so many coats, the whole front foyer would fill up. It was just crazy. We are a small school, but clearly we can make a difference.”
For his part, Bloch has been named a Hull Hero for work in making a difference in his community and beyond. He started raising money for Wellspring when he was 10; he raised about $700 that first year and is now up to about $25,000, he said. He has also collected soccer balls to send to children in Iraq and Afghanistan, part of a Connecticut-based effort.
Between school and sports — he plays lacrosse and wrestles — and activities like debate, model United Nations, and the school newspaper, Bloch said he spends about an hour a day writing e-mails for his volunteer work.
“Basically I write to everyone I know to find someone to sponsor me,” he said. “And then I spend a lot of time writing thank-you notes.”
Johanna Seltz can be reached at email@example.com.