For the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, students and staff at YouthBuild Philly took a day off from the first week of classes and came together as a school community for a service project in North Philadelphia. This school-wide day of service was among the thousands of projects happening around the country that day in honor of 9/11 victims and survivors and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks.
Students broke up into their vocation groups, and each squad spent about an hour cleaning up a designated cluster of residential blocks surrounding the Martin Luther King Recreation Center. All squads then came together to clean up the playground and fields at the rec center.
After group reflections and a school picture, YouthBuild Philly celebrated the successful completion of our first school-wide service project with pizza and a dance party.
Following the event, many students noted a connection between improving the neighborhood and reconnecting with their education. One student noted: “I had a ball today with my YouthBuild Family! We all were putting in high quality work and working together. I really enjoyed cleaning up the community.”
Another wrote: “I’m loving this new path that I’m taking. I’m glad I was able to turn my life around before it was too late. I have never been in an environment with such energy with my peers.”
We were also touched by the community’s response to our service. One resident purchased cold beverages for the squad of students and staff working on her block. Another left us this voicemail message:
“Some of your students were just here on the block and they were doing community service. I just wanted to say they did a great job. I was just calling to say thank you. I’ve never seen that before. So thank you, and thank the children for doing a great job.”
Thank you Class of 2014 for your enthusiasm, hard work, and commitment to service!