DRW College Prep – Day of Service

By: Natalie Arroyo

On November 21, over 500 DRW College Prep students volunteered throughout the city of Chicago. DRW, part of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, challenges and supports students to become highly educated people of integrity who positively impact their community. All Noble Network high schools require every graduating student complete 40 hours of community service.

“Part of our mission statement is to positively impact the community. So, we want to show our students they don’t have to wait until they’re an adult to make an impact, they can make a positive impact right now,” said DRW Principal Matt Kelly.

DRW College Prep has been hosting a Day of Service each year since 2015. This year, freshman students spent time at four different Cook County Forest Preserve sites while sophomores, juniors, and seniors went to one of fourteen philanthropic/nonprofit locations including New Life for Old Bags (NOLB) at Bethesda Rehab & Senior Care Center.

Arqual Patton, DRW junior, explained their task, “Today we are doing community service, cutting up used plastic bags so they can make mats to give to the homeless. The weather is growing colder as winter is coming up and plastic bags are more durable than cardboard in colder weather.”

Mary Moy, the NOLB Board Vice President shared, “Mats require 700 plastic bags and about 80 hours to crochet. We have made about 3,500 so far.” There are several NOLB sites across the city, but the one at Bethesda makes mats every week. This is the first year DRW students have worked with this program, and students enjoyed learning a new way to recycle.

“DRW encourages us do community service because it’s a good experience for us and when we apply for college and for jobs, it looks good to have volunteerism on our record,” said Keyon Pass, DRW junior, when speaking to the mission of his school. He added, “I’m not the type of person who gets out of my comfort zone, but volunteering does that just in doing things I’ve never done before, and that encourages me to try new things – to make more of myself.”

Damarius Wooten, also a junior at DRW, enjoyed volunteering with his classmates, “The thing about community service, is that you’re really not supposed to get anything out of it, you’re giving of yourself and getting nothing in return, and that’s why it feels so good.”