THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5TH, 2019

T

he Youth Community Initiative hosted their annual Service Fair, in which student-led and other community-oriented service groups gathered on the Quad on Nov. 6. The services represented at the fair each year include a range of companies and organizations working towards better animal care, hospital service, entrepreneurship and humanitarian projects.

The fair consisted of several tables set up for different organizations, with one to four representatives per group. The representatives displayed their goals and past endeavours on bright presentation boards.

Magical Bridge, a foundation which aims to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all children, was represented by five ambassadors. Deborah Getz, the Director of Community Engagement for Magical Bridge, recruits middle and high school students for internships over the school year and summer.

“Magical Bridge Foundation builds inclusive playgrounds that welcome everybody,” Getz said. “It’s not a special needs playground, but it’s a place where children and adults of all abilities are able to come play and have fun.”

The foundation hosts stands at local farmers markets and puts on free weekly concerts over the summer to attract members of the community to the playground.

“I run our team volunteer program called the Kindness Ambassador Program where we work with students to come out and help us on the playground, program events and other activities out in the community,” Getz said.

Getz and her team of teen members have been gathering donations to create playgrounds around California and other states.

Another popular organization at the fair was the Ronald McDonald House, an organization partnered with the Stanford Children’s Hospital. Jazmin Cervantes represented the program as a youth program associate at the fair.

“We provide support to kids and families that are being treated at the Stanford hospital,” Cervantes said. “We have many volunteers that come in and help us keep track of the kids, making sure they’re safe and making sure that all the families are being treated in a way that it gives them hope for their life threatening diseases.”

Along with the Ronald McDonald House, students can get involved with the community through the Youth Community Service club on campus. Senior Laura Kim is on the board and the vice president of YCS at Paly.

“We try to promote a lot of different opportunities for students on every club meeting,” Kim said. “This week, we’re doing Veteran’s Day cards, whereas sometimes we do maybe blankets for other organizations.”

Jimmy Nguyen represented the YCS club and is the current program coordinator of the Youth Community Initiative, aiming towards connecting the student body with organizations in the surrounding area.

“We had a video on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) awareness, and now we’re working on depression awareness,” Nguyen said. “Our goal is to make people feel more connected to each other and feel a sense of belonging in the (community).”

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Leila Khan
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