A service club at Delhi High School has built a reputation for good work and compassionate members – so much so that the membership more than doubled this school year to a total of nearly 150 students.
The first Helping Hawks meeting was held Thursday in the school’s theater, and club adviser Matt Ward had to use a microphone to address the crowd of students interested in beautification projects and feeding the less fortunate.
This year, the club will participate in its usual activities of feeding the homeless, cleaning up the community, painting murals and spending time with special needs students. But the club’s president, Kayla Ramos, hopes the increased membership translates to a bigger impact.
“It’s good to have a big group because we have backup when people can’t show up,” she said. “And for the murals, we need as many hands as we can get.”
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Helping Hawks started with 13 members in 2011. As the reputation of the club grows, so does its size. It’s also known for a similar service at the Delhi and New Life Church Shelter. The club organizes the Love Delhi event, a community beautification project done twice a year, where students clean up the streets and paint murals around town to decrease vandalism.
To begin Thursday’s meeting, club officers shared what they like most about the service projects. The club’s secretary, Clarissa Meza, hoped new members got as much out of the experience as she has. “I hope you enjoy this club because the experience will always be in your heart and help shape you,” she said.
I hope you enjoy this club because the experience will always be in your heart and help shape you.
Clarissa Meza, Helping Hawks club secretary
Students are divided into service teams of 15-20 students with one or two leaders per team. Those teams will feed the homeless and attend Love Delhi together. Every member should set a goal to participate in five service projects over the school year, he said. Students also can sign up to baby-sit during district meetings parents attend and to visit special needs students during lunch.
“This is one of the best clubs around,” Ward said.
Vincent Gonzalez, the school’s principal, said the Helping Hawks are role models for the district. “To see a bunch of young people giving back to the community has just been phenomenal,” he said.
Freshmen Juan Esprio, Noe Martinez and Luis Fuentes joined the club because they like community service and were excited to join the team spending time with special needs students.
“I joined that team because my cousin is a special needs student,” Espirio said. “I like to help her. My parents always said to respect kids like that.”
“It feels good to make them happy,” Martinez added.
The Helping Hawks’ first project will be Love Delhi on Sept. 26.
Brianna Vaccari: 209-385-2477