DHS volunteer fair helps kids find ways to give back
Brightly colored poster boards decorated Darien High School's gymnasium last Friday as 47 service organizations and seven service-oriented student clubs offered teens the opportunity volunteer in the community.
Hundreds of students milled around the gymnasium during the seventh annual DHS Volunteer Fair, gathering pamphlets and signing up to volunteer with a cause that piqued their interests.
"I'm really into tennis," said freshman Isabel Lee. "So I signed up for Grassroots, which teaches underprivileged kids how to play tennis."
"I think the volunteer fair is a good idea," Saffa said. "It gives us a lot of time and resources to figure out what we can do in a way that interests us."
Sophomore Jamie Condolora signed up to volunteer with three local causes, but said he was the most excited to participate with the Darien Fire Department.
"I've always wanted to be a part of the fire department. I have friends who are in it, and they like it," Condolora said. "I'm not just signing up for it -- I'm actually going to do it."
"We saw a need for this a while back," Assistant Principal Donna Russo said. "Kids wanted to volunteer, but didn't know how to go about it."
So the high school, in collaboration with the Community Fund of Darien, decided to bring the information to the students in an effort to illustrate the wide variety of causes in the area that prospective volunteers can choose from.
"We're trying to send the message about the importance of giving back," Russo said.
Many students have expressed interest in helping Haiti in light of the recent string of earthquakes and aftershocks in the island nation, she said.
"The kids have that in mind; they're very concerned about that," Russo said. "They're planning various fundraising activities for Haiti throughout the year."
The Class of 2013 used the fair as and opportunity to sell water bottles for $3 each. The students then donated the profits to World Water Relief, which is currently on the ground in Haiti.
"We've been doing it for four days, and we've already raised more than $1,000," said class officer Patrick Durkin. "It's been very successful."