AP Spanish students at Northern Illinois Food Bank getting ready to begin their volunteering. (Photo by Erin Quaid)
AP Spanish students at Northern Illinois Food Bank getting ready to begin their volunteering.

Photo by Erin Quaid

AP Spanish students move beyond the classroom to give back to the community

March 12, 2020

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, it is easy to block ourselves out from the rest of the world and only stay focused on ourselves. However, it is times like these where the world needs to come together in support, rather than to distance ourselves in selfishness. AP Spanish students remind us of this lesson.

On Tuesday, March 10, AP Spanish students traveled down to Geneva to volunteer at the Northern Illinois Food Bank, which is a nonprofit member of Feeding America. They work to supply food to the less fortunate in 13 different counties in Northern Illinois.

“The goal is for no one to go hungry; it’s a big goal to think about but we have it broken down into a way where every day every group gets to see how many pounds of food they’ve done and meals they have made.” Production Associate Jake Lamlough said. “Even though it doesn’t feel like a huge impact at the time, every single day these volunteers and our staff are working tirelessly to achieve our goal.”

Volunteers visit this food bank every day and are assigned different tasks such as creating food packages and sorting out food. York students were assigned the task of sorting and making bags of potatoes.

Essentially, our volunteer job for the day was to inspect sacks of potatoes, which we would then put in smaller five-pound bags that would later be distributed to people that needed them,” senior John Devine said. “We were split into two groups, and our goal for the day was to produce 210 bags for each group. We actually surpassed this goal and made 219 bags. It was honestly a lot of fun being able to work alongside my friends while trying to accomplish a common goal.”

AP students working together to package bags of potatoes.

Many students describing the volunteer experience as positive, team-oriented and supportive were able to see the impact that they actually had and can use this experience as a lesson.

I was interested in taking the time to serve the community and give back to the people of northern Illinois. [Volunteering] is a great way to feel good about yourself and remind yourself that you can make changes no matter your age,” senior Jackie Cyriac said.

AP Spanish will continue to embark on this volunteer field trip in the future, but will other classes follow the lead and put their volunteer skills to the test? 

“I 100% recommend that other classes take community service field trips because I think it ties the real world to our classes,” senior Aleksija Iglendza said. “It also teaches valuable skills that can be missed with an education that’s limited to the walls of a physical classroom.”

AP classes are known to have the most rigorous and complex coursework in high school. However, AP Spanish teacher Beth Liedolf decided that she and her students will leave that coursework at school and instead go help the community.

“I have a very deep belief in that if we have the means and are healthy enough, we have a responsibility to help those who might not have as much as us or the resources that we do and be able to place food on their table,” Liedolf said. “As we studied AP, one of our themes is world conflict, and we research topics such as poverty, and then I just thought it would be a natural thing to go and help others.”

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