Back in the good ole analog days, when I was in high school, “Senior Skip Day” (you might have called it “Cut Day” or “Ditch Day” or “I Got Into College and I Am Sooo Over High School Day”) was a day for frivolity, goofing off, and in my case heading down to the Jersey Shore, testing out my fake i.d., and trying to convince Heidi McHighschoolcrush that we could be more than “just friends.” But enough of my baggage. (P.S.–Heidi, I am totally over you.)
Yesterday, Erica Steen, the director of the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service got a phone call at around 10am telling her that a group of Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy students were having an impromptu “Senior Skip Day” and were looking to make the day meaningful and thought a community service project would fit the bill. While the department didn’t have any specific projects scheduled for that day, Erica proposed that they come downtown anyway and she would create a project for them.
Within an hour Erica met 14 boys and one girl at a grocery store around the corner from the 16th Street J where they purchased bread and fruit and bottled water, then returned to the J’s community service prep kitchen.
The kids proceeded to assemble peanut butter sandwiches which they then took down to Franklin Square at 13th and I Streets and distributed to the homeless population that tends to congregate in the park there.
According to Erica, much of the conversation amongst the students centered around how much trouble they might be in the next day for cutting class. And while, their headmaster may have to give at least a small rebuke (if he’s a go-by-the-book kind of guy), I have a hunch that they won’t be forced to write on the blackboard 100 times, “I will not cut class to feed the homeless and hungry.”
So we congratulate the Seniors of the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy for their good hearts, their kind deeds and hope that the faculty and staff of the school will smile and be proud of all that they did. We were proud to be a part of it.
If you are a high school student (or are parenting a high school student) and are interested in doing community service work for school credit or for personal enrichment, consider participating in the 16th Street J’s summer service camp: Yad B’ Yad. The two-week camp exposes high school students to a variety of service projects in the DC-area including shelter repair, hunger action, environmental clean-up, neighborhood beautification and work with at-risk children. There’s an early-bird registration discount of 10% if you sign up before April 4.