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A season of giving


Anderson‘Tis the season! While the holiday season is rapidly approaching, families and communities are gearing up to give back and take action. This year, West Linn High School has decided to join in with this tradition — in more than one way.

To get the ball rolling, West Linn High School has adopted a “sparrow” for the 2013-14 school year. Sparrow Club is an international club group that helps schools adopt a child, or sparrow, with a serious medical need. The school sponsors the sparrow through a corporate partnership and volunteer hours by students.

To give students volunteer hours, WLHS has put together service opportunities including trips to the food bank, the West Linn cleanup and many other community events. Other opportunities include more unconventional projects such as a carnival for kids with special needs and a week of service, named after our sparrow, dedicated to serving our school. During that week, students will write letters to soldiers, help our janitorial staff clean the school and perform other simple tasks at the high school.

Continuing the list of volunteer opportunities, WLHS has established a Key Club, which is a national program dedicated to serving the communities surrounding each club chapter. WLHS students are breaking out of their normal school duties and volunteering at different organizations every month.

These avenues of service are just the beginning of great volunteer opportunities happening at West Linn High School.

As a member of ASB at West Linn High School, I have the privilege of witnessing the process of decisions being made for the student body. As the Sparrow Club started to become a reality for the 2013 school year, we began to ask ourselves, “Why not just ask the kids for the money our sparrow needs instead of asking for volunteer hours?”

The answer is simple. While not everyone has the money to give to the cause, everyone has at least one hour they can give up for a child suffering from leukemia or cystic fibrosis. Not only is the opportunity open to every kid to contribute through service, there is also an aspect of personal growth factored in that does not come with another fundraiser.

This same philosophy of time over money can be applied outside of the walls of West Linn High School. In fact, it can be applied everywhere. Not every family is in the financial position to donate money this holiday season, but every family can donate time in one way or another. Whether it is at your home church or on the streets of Portland, an hour of time is just as precious as a sum of money.

Don’t have an hour? Don’t worry. Bake cookies for a neighbor or pick up the trash on the sidewalk that everyone else has walked past. It isn’t as hard as one might expect to put a smile on a friend’s face.

Redefine this holiday season with your family, your friend or your community. Instead of going to see a movie on Friday night, you might try sacrificing a night and volunteering at a local organization or a charity downtown. It may be surprising how much helping another person can impact you. One small act of selflessness can grow into something incredible and unexpected.

All it takes is a little time and a heart ready to serve.

Keeley Anderson is a senior at West Linn High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Tidings this school year.