A group of Delhi High School students are learning the importance of compassion by giving back to those in need.
Members of the Helping Hawks, a community service club on campus, have taken it upon themselves to prepare meals for the homeless community of the We Care Program, a resource that provides transitional and emergency shelter in Turlock.
Matt Ward, the club’s adviser, explained that the Helping Hawks club is made up of five service teams. These teams are made up of 12 to 15 students, with at least two student leaders per group. Team members plan meals for the less fortunate together, arrange rides and serve the meal at the homeless shelter.
Brian Miranda, a sophomore at Delhi High School and a Helping Hawks club member, said his favorite thing about giving back is seeing others smile. Miranda explained that on many occasions the food is home-cooked. He thinks that adds a special touch to the gesture, and knowing something the students made is nourishing others is a great reward, he said.
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“When you cook, you’re putting love into your food,” Miranda said. “It feels nice to be able to provide them with some basic stuff.”
Ward said students involved with Helping Hawks are not only giving back to the community, but are also learning important skills he hopes students will apply in their lives after high school. Ward said that through their work in the club, students are taught responsibility and communications skills. For example, if their meal plans were to fall through, they would have to explain themselves to the people in the shelter, who rely on them for dinner.
“I think what benefits the Helping Hawks students the most is that they are learning the value of service at the best age possible,” said Ward. “Service is a constant opportunity.”
Helping Hawks started with 13 members in 2011. As the reputation of the club grows, so does its size. The club is now composed of 60 students. The club’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 event done twice a year, where students clean up the streets and paint murals around town to decrease vandalism.
Several members of the Helping Hawks also spend their lunchtime with special-needs students on campus. Students like Janet Tafolla, a Delhi High senior, find that experience to be the most rewarding.
“They’re just so happy to see us,” Tafolla said. “We help them with their work, we play games and they really become our friends.”
Ward believes that most of the Helping Hawks members do not realize the positive impact they’re making in their communities.
“The Helping Hawks members are a representation of the entire Delhi community and they have proven that our school and town is full of great people who care about others and know how to make things happen,” he said.