Louis Savino Day of Service
The 17th annual Louis Savino Day of Service, on Oct. 17, contributed hundreds of hours of service, collectively, to organizations and sites around the region. More than 500 Upper School students and teachers prepared or packaged high-nutrition meals for the hungry; weeded, planted and cleared brush at cemeteries, parks and playgrounds; sorted donated clothing for children and adults; worked with students at area service-partner schools; and more.
At Horizon House, which supports individuals with disabilities, students worked on website design for the organization. At Drexel University Armory, they set up the citywide Philly High School Fair that was held later that day. The Quakers Dozen sang in every classroom at Family Support Services Early Intervention Center.
The service experience students had at Norris Square Civic Association (NSCA) is an example of "the mutually positive connection that forges great experiences, partnerships and friendships," said Travis Larrabee, director of the Upper School, who worked there with a group of 20 seniors. The students moved furniture, painted and worked on the grounds at the community development corporation in Northeast Philadelphia. Larrabee said the NSCA staff told students they were able to accomplish in five hours what it would take their staff more than a month to complete. "The students really appreciated hearing this, as it gave them the sense that we had helped in a significant way."
Before students set out to do service, they heard from several members of the Penn Charter community. Elizabeth Strasbaugh OPC '07 returned to her alma mater to discuss her work as a program manager with City Year Philadelphia. She supports a team of 25 young adults, ages 17-24, who serve full-time as mentors and tutors at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia.
Through service, Strasbaugh said, she was inspired by people who had shown resilience in the face of adversity. "I gained a newfound sense of purpose and concern for the people of the city I grew up in," she said. "A city I had only previously known by its shiny new buildings and its pristine historic neighborhoods – you know, the well-funded parts of Philadelphia, the parts rich in resources and easy to look at. However, through my volunteer opportunities at PC and beyond, I learned about the rest of my city and developed an interest in the values of service and social justice."
The Louis Savino Day of Service was renamed in honor of a PC sophomore who died in 2000, the night before the annual Day of Service, from an undetected congenital heart disorder. The Louis T. Savino, III Foundation works toward awareness and detection. Louis' mother, Toni Pellegrini, and his aunt, Lorraine Sikora, addressed students on the Day of Service, as did two of the foundation's board members: Josh Rosenzweig and Dain Lewis, both OPC '03 and classmates of Louis, spoke about memories of their friend and his commitment to service.