After Bro. Skip’s passing in December 2016, several students proposed putting together a Chaminade service project to keep his memory alive. The inaugural event took place on a Saturday in March, and more than 100 students and faculty from both campuses served three organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, MEND, and Heal the Bay.
The day started in Campus Ministry (West Hills), and the group joined in prayer before leaving on buses to their destinations. The Student Council sponsored bus sponsored headed to the Food Bank, the largest in the United States serving several millions of people each year. Students helped by sorting donated foods and checking expiration dates and quality of canned foods before sending them down a conveyor belt for packaging. By the day’s end, they sorted 29,737 pounds of food!
MEND Poverty volunteers cooked meals and worked in the organization’s mailroom. Their work doubled as a cooking lesson, and they had an opportunity to taste the food MEND clients would be served the next day. This bus was sponsored by Chaminade’s Caring Hearts and Homeless Hearts Clubs.
The Key Club and Environmental Eagles Clubs joined forces to sponsor the third bus, which took Chaminade students and faculty to participate in Heal the Bay activities. With more than 1,000 other volunteers, including Chaminade’s middle school students, the group worked to keep Southern California’s beaches clean.
Chaminade Service Day happened thanks to the efforts and commitment of Keegan Coppola ’17, Nick Sederlin ’17, Monty Balleweg ’17, Cristian Puente-Ortiz ’17, Tina Najm ’17, Erin Fabian ’17, Tina Pan ’17, and Alec Simoni ’18. High School Principal, Bro. Tom Fahy; Director of Campus Ministry, Shawna Sedik; and Director of Student Activites, Julie La Belle helped the students to determine how the day would unfold. The students each took ownership of a specific project, promoted Service Day, led ice breakers on the bus, and served as group leads at each service site on the day of the event.
Each service group had an amazing experience and impacted their local communities through a few hours of service. Campus Ministry and Student Activities hope to continue to offer Chaminade Service Day, work more with the middle school, and double the number of students who will go out and keep Brother Skip’s legacy alive.
Funds raised during Chaminade Gala’s fund-a-need on April 8 will establish the Bro. Skip Matthews Apostolic Works Endowment. This endowment will help fund projects like Chaminade Service Day, which will ultimately enhance one of the most important parts of the educational experience at Chaminade – Apostolic Works.