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Service Day adds new sites, moved earlier


Palo Alto High School’s seventh annual Service Day is set to take place with the help of over 50 nonprofit organizations on March 24 and will feature a variety of on and off campus community service activities for Paly students.

As in previous years, the campus-wide event focuses on students getting involved and making a difference in the Palo Alto community. This year, however, Service Day will introduce several new off-campus sites and activities.

Of the 227 spots available for off-campus field trips, many are new locations which have not been offered in the past for students participating in Paly’s Service Day. Such locations include Full Circle Farm, a corporation dedicated to local, sustainable food systems and Blossom Birth, a service for new and expecting families.

Other sites for this year’s event have been available in previous years, such as Acterra and the Second Harvest Food Bank.

As a whole, Service Day organizers focused on choosing sites at organizations related to the youth or the environment.

For the most part, each organization that comes to our school does its own activity to allow students to learn a little more about the organization and what it does.

According to junior Ibby Day, one of the event’s organizers and co-president of YCS-Interact club, a club helping with the planning of Service Day, these organizations usually tend to allow for more volunteers to help out.

Noticeably missing from this year’s Service Day is Habitat for Humanity, an organization that hosts a popular activity during which participants build playhouses for others. According to Day, several favorite sites are missing this year due to timing issues.

“There are fewer sites because some [sites] unfortunately had other groups booked the same day as [Paly’s] Service Day due to the fact that it is earlier this year,” Day said. “But we picked up a couple new [sites] in the process.”

In previous years, Service Day was held during Not In Our Schools (NIOS) Week in April. However, Service Day planners made the decision to hold the event separately this year in order to make planning for the event easier.

“YCS-Interact usually works to have Service Day during one of the days of [NIOS] week, but we found that last year there was a lack of communication and it made planning for Service Day harder than needed,” Day said.

In addition to off-campus activities, Service Day will include a host of on-campus projects on the quad during lunch.

These projects stem from different organizations around the Bay Area that are trying to spread their cause and get people involved, according to junior and Service Day Coordinator Candace Wang.

“For the most part, each organization that comes to our school does its own activity to allow students to learn a little more about the organization and what it does, [and students will] perhaps even sign up to volunteer [in the future] if they’re interested,” Wang said.

The on-campus projects include making cards for senior citizens and making bracelets for patients at Lucile Packard Children’s hospital, along with other activities from other organizations.

As in previous years, there will also be a kick-off breakfast in the morning on campus for those who will be attending off-campus community service field trips.

With a change in timing and broad collection of new and favorite service activities, Paly’s 2016 Service Day is already set up to be one to remember.

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