Posted by Joel Katz on April 26, 2011
Grizzlies TEAM Mentors and students headed out into the community on Saturday, April 16 to participate in a day of service. To encourage civic engagement among the students, the Grizzlies Foundation partnered with the Mid-South Food Bank and Clean Memphis to give participants the choice of either sorting cans for those in need or picking up trash in a local neighborhood. The students showed much anticipation leading up to the event and had even more fun while out there giving back.
The mentoring teams that voted to support with Clean Memphis had the opportunity to clean-up trash at Germanshire Park in Hickory Hill. They filled up bag after bag of trash and as one student noted, “You wouldn’t even know there was that much trash unless you actually got out here and checked it out.” It was a humbling experience and forced the students to think twice about littering.
Beyond the empowering feeling of cleaning up their city, the mentors and students had a chance to learn more about one another and strengthen their growing relationships. Says Mike Staley, a mentor at Power Center Academy, “It was a great opportunity to get to know the kids on a personal level and give back to the community alongside the students. Having them know the impact we were making was very gratifying for me and for them.”
The remaining teams spent their Saturday morning sorting cans at the Mid-South Food Bank. Everyone learned about hunger and were able to make a direct impact on fighting a problem that affects thousands of families across the Mid-South. Mentors and students packed two mobile pantries that will feed 700 families in Munford and Ripley, TN, and sorted 3,000 pounds of food that will provide 2,727 meals.
The mentors and students were appreciative of the opportunity to bring food to those that wouldn’t otherwise have a meal to eat. TEAM Mentor Mike McGee commented on this experience, “So many times we say we wish someone well, but this time we had a chance to actually act on it. The kids got a chance to be hand-on with this.”
Before finishing up for the day, mentors and students expressed interest in doing another service project in the near future. For many of the students this was their first experience doing community service. Being able to serve alongside their mentors and peers taught them a powerful lesson in the importance of an active citizen. The Grizzlies TEAM Mentoring program will plan another service project for the 2011-2012 school year.Share