In Depth

Helping Out – New Year


Staff Writer


New Year’s Resolutions are popular among many teens and adults. Some want to become more fit, achieve better grades, or form new connections. Others think bigger — wanting to end world hunger or save the coral reefs. Unfortunately, most of these aspirations don’t persist through the entire year, as people run out of enthusiasm, motivation, or resources. However, the mere act of trying to change something can make a difference, or at least set something good in motion.

History teacher Mary-Kate Greenberg said that one of her goals in order to impact the Pinewood community was to help make her students more well-rounded.

“I want to educate the heart as well as the mind,” Greenberg said.

“My hope is that students will feel a little less stressed through small acts such as providing pick me up’ candies or having students read quotes before we begin class,” Greenberg said.

In the first of these exercises, students could pick a candy from a drawer if they are having a bad day. The second exercise involves students selecting a quote that they particularly identify with that day or week, then getting to share their quotes with the class.

If you want to personally see goals come to fruition sooner, you can also check out a few charities that you can either donate to or volunteer at. Project Night Night is a charity that works to reduce the traumatic aspect of child homelessness. Project Night Night creates tote bags full of items for homeless kids, like blankets, stuffed animals, and books. 826 Valencia, meanwhile, is a program to help underprivileged kids and teens develop better writing skills — you can sign up to tutor a child on their website. If you want to support a charity and get something for yourself in return, check out Creativity Explored, an organization that helps people with developmental disabilities sell their art.

Freshman Elizabeth Ahrens’s goal for the Bay Area involves picking up trash on the streets.  In urban areas and even on our own campus, left behind wrappers, boxes, and little baggies are becoming more of a pollutant. Everyone sees it, but few take action to pick it up and put it in the trash can, even if the offending article is only inches away.

“If I see someone drop some trash, I’ll let them know what they did, and if they for some reason don’t pick that trash up, I can pick it up,” Ahrens said.

If everyone just picked up three pieces of trash that weren’t theirs per lunch period, our campus and moreover, our world, would be a lot cleaner.

Please consider these charities and actions, and other ways you can make a difference. Change starts with one step.