Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2001

Students learn meaning of community service

March 22, 2001

Noe Marquez said she was surprised by one of the things she's learned in her DeSoto High School community service class.

"I moved here from Mexico three years ago," she said. "I thought this was the richest country in the world. I was surprised there was homelessness in such a rich country."

As part of the their participation in PeaceJam, an international educational program that attempts to inspire students through the lives of past Nobel Peace Prize winners, students in Karen Wall and Mary Etta Copeland's community service classes served meals at the Willa Gill Center in Kansas City, Kan.

"Every school that gets involved in PeaceJam does a project," said DHS social worker Debbie Bottoms. "Our students decided to do something locally."

The January trips to the center proved an eye-opener to Marquez and other students.

"We were serving little kids there," said junior Jake Hodge. "Little kids and homeless is not good."

Leanne Wilson said the only thing those wanting a meal at the center had to do for it was "show up."

But she said she knew many were homeless because she saw them walking the street as they arrived at the center.

For the second part of their project, the students collected personnel care items for the homeless, Bottoms said. The students collected enough shampoo, tooth paste and other items to fill 150 bags destined to the City Union Mission in Kansas City, Mo.

As part of their PeaceJam activity, the students will attend a gathering March 28 at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

There, they will be greeted by Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala.

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