The independent school Gretta attends has a requirement for graduation that is not academic. All students must log 100 hours of community service before they can receive their diplomas.
Today, she and a group of other students and staff are going to Philadelphia on "Alternative Spring Break 2009". Students have been going to the same neighborhood for over 12 years, so the school has established a real connection with the neighborhood. The kids will cook and eat meals with homeless folks, visit with recovering drug addicts, and pitch in wherever the community needs a hand, clearing lots, repairing homes...
Gretta has been working away at these 100 hours in many ways...stitching up Linus quilts, working at our local CSA, helping out at Sunday School and now, today, setting off for Philly.
Reminds me of something Barack Obama said on November 4, 2008.
Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other."
And it reminds me, too, of Kahlil Gibran's words. A quote dear to our family, Work is love made visible. Gibran's thoughts on work, found in The Prophet are worth a read (or maybe a reread).
I guess my hope is that Gretta and her classmates will not stop at 100 hours, but rather see their volunteer hours while in high school as a mere warm up for a life full of service. And may these young folks act as a gentle reminder to the rest of us.......