||Laura Green, left, from the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, talks with Edgewood High School freshman Eduardo Saucedo about volunteer opportunities during the recent Service Fair held at the school. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)
MADISON -- As a new school year got underway, incoming freshmen at Edgewood High School in Madison got a chance to get started living the Sinsinawa Dominican values of Truth, Compassion, Justice, Partnership, and Community.
On September 14, the school held its first Service Fair in the school's Wilke Gymnasium.
Representatives from several local organizations were on hand to meet with students interested in getting involved and helping others.
Edgewood High School students are required to complete 100 hours of service prior to graduation.
Some of the organizations represented were the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Catholic Multicultural Center, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, Attic Angel Place, Middleton Outreach Ministry, and the Henry Vilas Zoo.
There were also after-school opportunities at Blessed Sacrament School, Edgewood Campus School, St. James School, and Our Lady Queen of Peace School, all located in Madison.
Putting faith and love into action
"Helping others, serving one another is a way to put our faith and love into action," said Joan Rundhaug-Witz, religious studies and campus ministry teacher, at the start of the program.
She added that because of the importance of service, the school had the idea this year to have the fair in order to emphasize it right from the start for the students.
Edgewood senior DC Morris spoke to the students on his experiences with service.
"Each one of you must find your own motivation, your own activities, and your own benefits from service," Morris said.
One benefit Morris said he got from service was "being a hard worker" and learning how to balance time serving, with other obligations such as studying and having a job.
Another benefit was "how to be a leader and work with others."
Morris shared some of his experiences with the St. Vincent de Paul Youth Service Council and helping poor people in the area.
The representatives from local organizations then shared thoughts and experiences about their service opportunities for teens.
One representative was Anthony Brown, volunteer coordinator for the Urban League of Greater Dane County.
Brown is a 2001 graduate of Edgewood High School.
One opportunity he described is the Schools of Hope program in which the Urban League recruits, trains, and matches high school volunteer tutors with middle school students to ensure the students are adequately prepared to successfully complete academic subjects when they enter high school.
"We're all one big family," Brown said of all the organizations at the event. "No matter where you serve, you're serving the city and that's what we hope for."
The students then got a chance to meet with the representatives, talk with them about service opportunities, and get on mailing lists for more information.
All of the students were encouraged to sign up for at least one opportunity at the fair.
For more information on Edgewood High School, go to www.edgewoodhs.org