ShareThis Page

Fox Chapel Area students will perform odd jobs to show service, honor MLK Jr.

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, 1:15 p.m.
Fox Chapel Area High School students Tim Marsh and Emma Klatt help pack toiletries as part of a Community Outreach fundraiser for veterans at the H.J.Heinz Campus in O'Hara in 2016.
Fox Chapel Area High School students Tim Marsh and Emma Klatt help pack toiletries as part of a Community Outreach fundraiser for veterans at the H.J.Heinz Campus in O'Hara in 2016.

Updated 10 hours ago

Lower Allegheny Valley churches, fire halls and libraries that need odd jobs completed could get free help from Fox Chapel Area High School students in January.

Counselor Rachel Machen is hoping to start a local Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 15, dispatching students across the area to fix, clean, paint and do other small jobs for community groups.

“I'm looking for any type of volunteer opportunities on that day that our students can provide,” said Machen, who is also community outreach sponsor. “It's a way for students to help out, essentially in their own backyards, and feel a sense of pride and satisfaction at giving back.”

The school district encompasses Aspinwall, Blawnox, Fox Chapel, Indiana Township, O'Hara and Sharpsburg.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was founded in 1994 to encourage people to walk in the civil rights leader's footsteps by helping others.

“Dr. King once said, ‘Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?'” Machen said. “We hope students will become more engaged in their community and see how easy it is to give back.”

Shady Side Academy has been participating in MLK Jr. Day of Service for about six years. Typically, more than 150 students and staff scatter across the region for hands-on projects at the VA Hospital in O'Hara, for Meals on Wheels and at HealthSouth Harmarville Rehab.

The work doesn't have to be intensive. Last year, younger students completed kid-friendly projects like filling treat bags and coloring cards for Beverly's Birthdays, a group that provides birthday cheer for homeless children. They also decorated placemats to be delivered with meals to home-bound residents.

Fox Chapel Area student chair of the community outreach committee, Maddie Reuss, said King used his voice and actions to teach people the values of compassion and service. District students are trying to follow his example, Reuss said.

“I am personally looking forward to working in the community and putting it into action, not just talking about it,” she said.

Machen said students will benefit as much as the community groups. Service helps students learn outside the classroom, she said.

“They learn to collaborate, solve problems and improve their communities,” she said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or @tawnyatrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.