Hello Fellow Readers,
Its humbling to witness what can be done when we work together to weed out undesirables; making way for new beginnings and offering a helping hand. Nearly 500 students, teachers and staff of Blair Academy, located in Blairstown NJ, mobilized on May 19th to help over 20 nonprofits in their annual Day of Service.
Enthusiastic volunteers arrived in t-shirts that touted their Day of Service initiatives of helping, serving, supporting, and promoting a gambit of human, environmental and animal wellbeing necessities. I had the privilege of joining an ambitious group of twenty who helped spruce up the Pocket Park in downtown Blairstown. The park was designed and built about three years ago for residents, visitors, and patrons of Main Street and the seasonal Farm Market; a space to toss a ball or sit for a moment on one of the hefty stone benches under the cooling shade of a River Birch or Sycamore tree. In our team were a few folks who maintain the beautiful grounds of Blair bringing their expertise and equipment; even a truckload of plants to fill gaps in the garden adding to the team’s generosity of weeding, planting and spreading mulch.
Carolyn Conforti, Dean of Campus Life, shared other projects going on throughout our community and credited Joanne Brandwood in charge of orchestrating the logistics of the Blair volunteers helping Project Self Sufficiency, the Center for Prevention and Counseling, and the Manna House soup kitchen all in Newton NJ. Then there’s the Women’s Resources in Monroe County PA and the St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton PA to name just a few. I asked if the volunteers could pick their project of choice. Carolyn shared that students and faculty didn’t know specifically where their project would be, but could indicate whether they preferred to work inside or out. Clearly, they all arrived with an attitude of “can do” for the project at hand despite the extraordinarily hot and humid spring day.
A few of the students took upon themselves to collect worms to barter with a local deli who sells tackle. I’m not sure their planned exchange was worms for a sandwich, but regard the “worm entrepreneurs” on a fast track career in business.
Also amongst our group was Bliss, a seeing eye dog in training Carolyn volunteered to raise her first year of life. She quickly tributes the students helping to expose Bliss to daily life amongst the community. I asked if it will be difficult when it’s time to say goodbye. Carolyn replied knowing the assistance she will provide helps. “Bliss wants to work and it is an honor to help her prepare for service.”
Blair Academy’s contribution to instilling the importance of community volunteering and environmental understanding is an example for all. If all of us serve our earth and each other, our garden of life would surely be a more beautiful place. Garden dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com
Special thanks to a dear friend and photographer William Cohea who volunteered to photograph the ambitious volunteers during Blair Academy’s Day of Service .