Hazelwood Central High School Student Ambassadors Visit Veterans Home | Community Spirit
Nine Hazelwood Central High School seniors spent some time giving back to those in their community by volunteering at the Missouri Veterans Home in Bellefontaine Neighbors.
The students, members of the Hazelwood Central High Student Ambassadors, took lunch orders, served food, and opened beverage containers for residents. Later, students pushed wheelchairs or otherwise escorted residents about the park-like setting surrounding the veterans’ home.
After a quick orientation, Julie Goulet, volunteer services manager, led the ambassadors into the dining room, where residents began gathering for the mid-day meal. She told the students that residents have a choice - they can walk through the lunch line and choose their meals or they can sit at tables and be waited on.
“It’s important for students to give back to people who have done things for them even when the students are not aware of it,” said Principal Dr. Cheryol Mitchell, who accompanied the group.
Toliver said the idea to visit was just one of many notions the group came up with while brainstorming community service opportunities.
“It’s a nice environment to be in, to help people who are not seen like others are,” said Maya Toliver, president of the student ambassadors. “To put a smile on their faces just makes me feel good. I hope we can do this again.
Classmate Daysha Gathing explained what she enjoyed.
“I like getting to know people and ask them what they want,” she said. “They crack jokes and they say, ‘I want this instead of that.’ We get a one-on-one experience with them here.”
“They are really nice; I didn’t expect them to be so nice,” said Kyle Carter. “I enjoyed talking to different people and getting to know them.”
Goulet said the Missouri Veterans Home encourages more public school participation so students can interact with the residents and earn community service hours needed to graduate. The St. Louis Missouri Veterans Home is a 300-bed; long-term care facility managed by the Missouri State Veterans Commission and is one of seven such homes in Missouri. Call (573) 751-3779 or go to www.mvc.dps.mo.gov for more information.