10/8/2012 4:49:00 PM Blanchet Catholic holds day of service
Blanchet School photo by Diana Liz Dettwyler Photography
Sophomore Laura Belleque helps to clean a headstone at St. Barbara Cemetery.
SALEM — The students, faculty and staff of Blanchet School participated in a second annual day of service last month. Almost 400 Blanchet volunteers dedicated the entire day to serving 21 agencies through projects mobilized by HandsOn Mid Willamette Valley, a volunteer action center for Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties. Before setting off, students gathered for a motivational assembly featuring keynote speaker Kimberly Helterline, executive director of St. Francis Shelter and Blanchet parent. Julie Hoy, a Salem musician and parent of a graduate, provided inspirational music.
Volunteers painted, cleaned, organized food banks, sorted book donations, pulled weeds, planted and harvested. Among the agencies served were Queen of Peace Church, St. Edward Church, Salem Keizer Head Start, Grant Community School, Historic Deepwood Estate, Northgate Peace and Forgiveness Garden, St. Francis Shelter, St. Barbara Cemetery and Tierra Rose Senior Living.
"It was one of the best groups I’ve ever had in any project," said Austin Rowlader, community mobilizer for HandsOn Willamette. Rowlader worked closely with a group of Blanchet students at the Candide Community Garden. "They got all the work done, they were interested, smart and so much fun to work with,” he said.
Danielle Wise, Blanchet’s campus minister, said the service day allows students to work alongside staff in a different way.
"Although we are all working at different places, we are working toward a common purpose of serving our community and, while our intent is to benefit others, our students and staff also benefit from the experience,” Wise said.