March Special 2016: Doing 35 Volunteer Activities to Celebrate 35 Years!

Direct Relief 1

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March Special is a long-standing tradition at Anacapa. Each year March Special takes place the day after the auction and is a time for students and faculty to bond over an off-campus activity. This year, in keeping with our ever-present spirit of volunteerism and our commitment to do 35 volunteer activities to celebrate our 35th anniversary, we sent four teams of students out into the community for a morning of volunteer work.

By all accounts, the day was a success. One teacher noted that our students seem happiest when they are working as a team and doing good work. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer at Direct Relief International, Vieja Valley School, Food Bank of Santa Barbara County, and Girls, Inc.

Direct Relief 3Thirteen Anacapa students and two faculty toured Direct Relief International (DRI) followed by a fun, team building volunteer activity. Based in Santa Barbara, DRI was founded at the end of World War II to help refugees, and it has grown in recent years to become one of the most important international NGO’s providing medical supplies to people experiencing various natural and man-made disasters. We toured the main warehouse which distributes medical supplies all around the world, and then we walked to another warehouse to package sheets to be sent to hospitals and clinics. The sheets were donated by the Bacara and Four Seasons hotels. Students checked for torn and/or stained sheets, which were separated to be sent to local Humane Shelters. The good sheets were folded, boxed and sealed. We did a whole big bin of sheets, and filled 6 boxes, and we had great time doing it!

At Vieja Valley School, four students worked with Mrs. Lauderdale’s 1st grade class doing share time, spelling, math, and music. It was a fun time reminiscing as well as encouraging these young students.  Two of the students in the volunteer group were actually alums of Veija Valley School.Food Bank 1

At the Food Bank, students sorted expired canned and dry goods before organizing mixed boxes of soup, pasta, sauces, beans, lentils, and oatmeal. They also helped clean the warehouse by sweeping, and scrubbing the sink.

Ten students, along with two teachers, volunteered at the Girls, Inc center in Goleta. The program director, Kristina Webster, met us at the center and gave us an overview of the organization’s mission, as well as a tour through the center. Our goal was to help clean up the facility before a big fundraising event. We split up into two teams and went through each classroom, cleaning and tidying all the surfaces, peeling tape off the floor, scrubbing paint off the floor, tidying the bookshelves, pulling out broken books to be ferried to the librarian, and wiping down cubbies. For the last 30 minutes, we dry-mopped and wiped down the edges of the basketball court, and finished off our time there with a quick game of basketball. When we left, the center looked much cleaner than when we arrived, and the Girls, Inc staff were all very grateful for our help.Ice Skating

After the morning of volunteering, the students had a break for lunch followed by a fun afternoon of ice skating.