Joliet Twp. H.S. community joins the fight against hunger
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org April 22, 2012 7:42PM
Joliet City Councilman Don Fisher talks Saturday to Royce Chandler of the Joliet Central Communications Marketing Club and the Choose Respect initiative during Global Youth Service Day at Joliet West High School. | Jan Larsen~For Sun-Times Media
Global Youth Service Day
On Saturday at Joliet West High School, the following groups received certificates for community service:
Judson Church, mission trips; Friends of Rachel Club, Joliet West, community outreach and awareness; Hispanic Latino Coalition of Will & Grundy Counties, Sticker Shock; Rockdale School, peace tables; Joliet Township High School, robotics competition; Joliet Township High School, Invisible Children; Hufford Junior High School, Builders Club; Joliet West High School, Say It Out Loud; Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Fight Poverty; Career Seekers, Read-to-Success;
Farragut School, Green Community; Joliet Central High School and Housing Authority of Joliet, Choose Respect; Joliet Park District, Hartman Heroes; Rockdale School, I&M Canal cleanup; Joliet Central High School, Operation Outreach; YMCA, youth programs; Rockdale School District, Friends of Rachel Club; Lincoln School, service community project; Joliet Central High School, ROTC junior achievement; Joliet Job Corps, Virgil Kemp, Helpers of Mother Earth; Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Every Child Deserves a Home; Chestnut Health Systems and First Assembly of God; Joshua Arms and YESS;
Aviva USA and Friends of Rachel, Youmanity Tokens and Tiger 5K; Rockdale School, Walk for Peace; Joliet Township High School, Friends of Rachel Club, Compassion, Kindness and ‘Bling’; Joliet Township High School, No Kid Hungry campaign; Joliet Township High School, student council; Joliet Township High School, speedway project.
Updated: May 24, 2012 8:27AM
JOLIET — Jennifer Villalobos mobilized a group of 30 students, parents and teachers at Joliet Township High School, and together they raised money to fight hunger in America.
Villalobos’ bake sale on Saturday was one of the feature presentations at Global Youth Service Day — which brought dozens of community service projects and hundreds of people to Joliet West High School.
Global Youth Service Day, established in 1988, is celebrated each year in 100 countries. The campaign recognizes and encourages the millions of youths who improve their communities every day through service.
Villalobos’ bake sale benefited the No Kid Hungry campaign, sponsored by the Food Network, Wal-Mart and the ConAgra Foods Foundation.
“They ask people to make donations, or sign up for a pledge online, or run a bake sale — and any proceeds from the bake sale go to the No Kid Hungry campaign,” Villalobos said. “And this campaign is specifically to help children in America who are in families who are struggling to provide food.”
Villalobos, a junior at Joliet Central, spent a month and a half on the project. She even got her varsity soccer teammates involved, with the school’s permission.
Saturday was the culmination of her efforts: The bake sale was held in conjunction with the large Global Youth Service Day event at the Joliet West field house.
Villalobos woke up early in the morning, in time to welcome dozens of bake sale participants who dropped off food at her home. Then she spent the afternoon with her volunteers, selling cakes, pies, cookies and food baskets.
Stephanie Gonzalez, a junior at Central, volunteered in the effort.
“Helping out was no problem because I know it was going toward something really amazing,” Gonzalez said. “I am very proud to say that I was part of it.”
Also on Saturday, Rockdale School made a presentation on its seventh-grade cleanup project along the Illinois & Michigan Canal.
“I challenged the class, after our conservation unit, to come up with a small way to help our community, and it turned into a much greater project than I ever anticipated or dreamed of,” said Tammy Ledesma, middle school science teacher at Rockdale.
“The children unanimously said that cleaning up the I&M Canal would make the largest impact on the community,” Ledesma said.
The challenge started back in December. The school worked with state officials this winter and spring, and the first work day was April 11. The cleanup crew started at the Brandon Road access and worked westward toward Larkin Avenue.
The crew included 32 seventh-graders, school staff, school board members and a state staff member.
They removed more than 1,200 pounds of scrap metal and more than six pickup-truck-loads of garbage.
Nick Wyke, a seventh-grader at Rockdale School, spent the entire school day with the crew along the canal. On Saturday, Nick and his classmates were recognized for their efforts, and they got to see many other community service projects on display.
“I was glad that everybody works with their community. We’re not the only ones,” Nick said. “It’s just good knowing that someone else cares.”
Rockdale also was recognized on Saturday for eighth-graders’ efforts on a Walk for Peace, and for first-graders’ “peace tables.”
Rockdale Principal Tammy Hafner said: “It has really come down — in all these situations — to the students and their visions. And their visions have exceeded our expectations as a staff and administration.”
Joliet Job Corps
Ebony Hampton was part of a cleanup crew from Joliet Job Corps, which was recognized Saturday.
For four days leading up to Saturday’s event, the crew cleaned up various sites in honor of Virgil Kemp and Helpers of Mother Earth — whose cleanup efforts were featured in The Herald-News on March 25.
During the four days last week, the Joliet Job Corps crew cleaned up several large Joliet parks: Highland, Pilcher, Nowell and Bicentennial.
The group included 75 students and 12 staff members.
“As students, it shows that we do get involved in things that go on in our community,” said Hampton, a student at Joliet Job Corps.
Vocational Manager Antione Edwards said the agency also provided entertainment at the Saturday event — a percussion performance using only buckets. The show had simple equipment, but a little resourcefulness made it a lot of fun.
Cheryl McCarthy, superintendent of Joliet Township High School, said Saturday marked the school’s first Global Youth Service Day.
“To see kids, from the age of kindergarten to seniors in high school, come together, all wanting to give back to their community, is such a wonderful thing,” McCarthy said.