Community Service is an important aspect of Mass Academy. Every student is required to do 50 hours per year of volunteering, including 10 hours in a high needs community. Even though it is a requirement, I feel that I have really enjoyed volunteering, and have learned so much from every experience. It has been a great way to give back to my community and participate in things that are important to me.
This past year, I volunteered for four meets run by Crimson Aquatics for athletes under ten years old. During these meets, I helped set up and break down the timing system for each lane, helped coaches manage their swimmers, and assisted young swimmers in getting to their race on time and knowing when it was their turn to swim. I really liked this community service activity because I got to use my knowledge as a swimmer to help younger swimmers and be a role model for them to look to. I learned a lot about working with young children, including how to use my position as an older swimmer to help reassure nervous athletes before their events and encourage team spirit.
Much of my community service was for environmental causes. One example is ZAP the Blackstone, an event in the towns along the Blackstone River to keep the waterway and surrounding area clean. During this event, I helped Sutton put signs on sewage drains to discourage people from dumping harmful chemicals in them. I also participated in multiple trash clean ups, both in Sutton and in Worcester.
Mass Academy runs many STEM awareness programs for children. One such event that I volunteered for was STEM Saturday. STEM Saturdays generally take place once a month at a public space, such as a park or library. These events are organized by the Mass Academy Community Service club (MACS) and consist of a series of stations for children of all ages to explore STEM. I also volunteered for the STEM week activities run by Mass Academy for elementary schools in Worcester. During STEM Week, I worked with a team of a few other students to organize and run a paper roller coaster activity for children. These community service experiences were a great opportunity for me to work with young children and help spread awareness and interest in STEM.