Music blared from all levels of the Flood Mansion as PAWS families swept, wiped and vacuummed different floors of the Broadview campus during last Friday’s annual Service Day. Students and faculty had originally planned to participate in a beach cleanup, which was canceled due to rain.
“March is just one of those months, so we’ve always had a backup plan,” Director of Student Life Devin DeMartini Cooke said about the change in scheduled activities for Service Day. “We’re just changing coastal cleanup to Convent cleanup.”
The morning started with a presentation from the Marine Biology class on how trash affects marine life.
Students then split up by PAWS advisory family groups consisting of students from each grade to clean all floors of the Flood Mansion and Siboni Arts & Science Center, before writing letters of gratitude to the cleaning staff.
“I helped wipe off all the tables and clean the walls in all the rooms,” freshman Mary Perez said. “It was nice to give back to our community and help out.”
After a Chipotle-catered lunch, Alex Fang, founder of non-profit organization Surf for Life, and best-selling author Jaimal Yogis, who wrote “Saltwater Buddha” and “The Fear Project,” gave a presentation on their international work in promoting community development projects.
Service trips through Surf for Life stress the inclusion of local community leaders and workers as volunteers construct buildings for the community.
“We want to answer any questions people have about our programs,” Fang said. “It’s all about getting people to participate and help out in anyway that the they can.”
Yogis and Fang introduced Surf for Life’s documentary “Thank You Surf Again,” directed by Frank Sun, and answered questions addressing service and personal experiences.
“I hope that they get everything out of it, which is a bonding experience of traveling with friends to do something new or something you love,” Yogis said. “There’s no better feeling than that. I’ve never met anyone who’s gone on a trip who hasn’t felt amazing, so we’re hoping to just spread that message far and wide.”
Surf for Life has organized service trips to El Salvador, the Philippines, Morocco and other countries typically oriented around improving education and healthcare, according to Fang.
“It was really inspiring to see how much they’ve helped people in other countries and how much they’ve made a difference in the world,” Perez said.