Alyssa Law Staff Writer
People Helping People, or PHP, is a volunteer-based club whose mission is to involve students by directly engaging social issues that affect the local and global community, while also providing the opportunity to develop leadership and interpersonal skills. PHP gives students valuable connections to volunteer opportunities in Willimantic and the surrounding towns.
The club is broken up into four “committees,” each with their own committee head who finds and brings students to volunteer events. Students can choose to be involved with one committee or all four. The committees are: Youth, which focuses on providing volunteer services to children; Human Services, focusing on the elderly or people in the Willimantic community; Animals, which focuses on helping animals, and Food Security, which works mainly with the on-campus food pantry, Shawn’s Cupboard.
The Youth Committee had a successful year. They took weekly trips to Natchaug Elementary School in Willimantic to read to a kindergarten classroom as part of their weekly event called Reading Buddies. The Youth Committee also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house in New Haven. There they made meals and delivered blankets to families with children staying at the Yale New Haven Hospital. Most club members also wrote to a third-grade pen pal every week. They even got to meet them at two fun pen pal parties!
The Human Services Committee also hosted some great volunteer events. They volunteered weekly at a residential care home called High Chase. There, the students spent time with the residents who all have some type of cognitive disability. The students played games, did crafts and socialized with the residents. This committee also led craft nights during club meetings where members made things such as pillowcases for children entering homeless shelters, or cards and bracelets for children in the hospital.
The Animal Committee held great events as well. They volunteered at several dog adoption events where they were able to show many dogs to potential families, and even got some adopted! They also volunteered at Tara Farm Rescue, grooming the animals and cleaning their habitats. The Animal Committee also hosted many trivia-style awareness events where students were given small prizes for answering questions.
The Food Security Committee worked with Shawn’s Cupboard, providing volunteers and donations. They also organized a Zumba-thon to collect donations for the cupboard.
In total for the 2018-2019 school year, the club members of People Helping People have completed over 1,000 hours of community service. Several members were given the opportunity to attend the IMPACT Leadership conference in the spring, and the club has also hosted several successful fundraisers and awareness events. PHP also regularly volunteered with the Hebron Parks and Recreation, helping out at their Halloween and Easter events. PHP also co-organized a successful hunger banquet with ECSU’s Habitat for Humanity.
Be sure to check out People Helping People next fall!