Alverno HS Service Fair connects students to commitment.

Demonstrating that “faith with works” is the catalyst for change in any community, no matter how big or small, Alverno High School in Sierra Madre engaged its community --- in particular its seniors --- in its second annual Service Fair, held Jan. 6.

Initiated by the school’s theology department and organized by campus minister Susana Capra, the Service Fair invited the 45 seniors to choose causes close to their hearts and see how they could be an agent of change for that organization. During the fall semester of school, the girls researched their project, discovering what they could do to help the cause, whether through fundraising, volunteering or raising awareness. 

Students, faculty and staff attended the Friday afternoon Service Fair and were joined by alumni, grandparents and neighbors who wandered from table to table, learning about the various projects.

The range of projects and creativity on display at this year’s fair was impressive: from organizing a blood drive and helping an orphanage in Brazil to preparing food for Skid Row, volunteering at Ronald McDonald House in Pasadena, and raising funds for a clean water charity for third-world countries. 

As they told visitors about their service projects, the seniors also offered goods or services as a way to raise funds for their causes --- like drawing a family pet portrait in exchange for a donation to a Glendale no-kill cat shelter, or providing a professional nail painting for donations to stop child prostitution. One student offered crochet classes to help her cause which involved teaching crocheting to homeless women so that, in turn, they could sell items to be self-sufficient.

Sign-up sheets and donations were collected so visitors could be kept in the loop regarding that particular organization. Capra noted that many of the Class of 2011 who participated in the inaugural Service Fair say they have continued being involved in service projects, either with the one they began or another.

“We hope,” said Capra, “that this experience will encourage the girls to continue to make time for socially responsible causes.”

---Brenda Rees

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