About one year ago Delhi High School student Emmanuel Perez volunteered at the We Care Program shelter. His experience serving food to the homeless men sheltered at We Care moved him so much that he started a club at Delhi, the school’s first student-run service club known as “The Helping Hawks.”
Last school year the club grew slowly as Perez and a handful of his fellow students continued to volunteer at We Care.
This year The Helping Hawks has grown to 40 strong. Students have swooped in to serve an astounding 10 percent of the We Care meals for the duration of the time the shelter remains open. The students cook and prepare all the meals they serve.
“Honestly, the Helping Hawks isn’t anything special because we’re just a bunch of high school students attempting to give refuge to those who need it. Basically, we are performing the social and civic duties every individual should perform. No excuse or justification currently exists for not completing these duties. Delhi High School students recognize the humility the club and its members constantly maintain,” said Perez.
Hawks’ co- faculty advisor Matt Ward said the students have astounded him by their dedication to helping the community.
“There’s no way to contain the club’s passion for service. I tried it once and failed miserably. Back in November, I told the club that I had six nights reserved this winter at the homeless shelter. Emmanuel, in a nice way told me no way. To make a long story short, we ended up taking on 12 nights,” said Ward.
Recently, students have decided to volunteer even more time serving breakfast on weekends.
Club members break up into groups and organize duties based on the day they volunteer to serve.
“They are all in it together and there is an awesome connection and a lot of synergy in each group. I end up sitting back and watching their planning and preparation unfold. These students are seeing the difference they can make,” added Ward.
We Care Program Director Bill Sturtevant praised the students’ efforts as one of the highlights of the program.
“Seeing the whole interaction between the guests and volunteers here is awesome. These kids are here so much that they get to know these guys and build relationships,” said Sturtevant.
Delhi senior Jenny Ramirez explained how her experiences with the Hawks at We Care have made her realize she can make a difference.
“I had an awesome time feeding the homeless. To me it felt not just good but great helping the people that need me. I have never realized in my whole life how I can make a difference in the world but that changed tonight. Tonight was the time where I made a difference in peoples’ lives. I made them happy. I learned so much about them. This was an experience that I will never forget because it has came once in my life time and I hope there is more to come,” she said.
Junior Carolos Romero said serving has made him realize how fortunate he is.
“Going to go feed the homeless made me realize to appreciate the things I have. I would complain that I did not like certain foods, but after going and feeding the homeless, it made me realize to appreciate my everyday meals,” he said.
Part of the Helping Hawks mission is to build an improved relationship with the Delhi and Turlock communities.
“Sadly, people seem to be predestined to negatively perceive the town of Delhi . Individuals around our town automatically assume the worst about our town. People have these inexplicable stereotypes about the town, Delhi High School, and the school’s students. We wish to fight and defeat these absurd stereotypes because they are horrifically false,” said Perez.
This year Ward said Helping Hawks students have picked up trash in Delhi, contributed to graffiti abatement efforts and donated toys to children in Africa.
Perez sums up the Hawks’ efforts best by explaining the basis of the club is “the golden rule.”
“The Helping Hawks’ main goal truly isn’t anything special or extraordinary. We simply attempt to aid those individuals who haven’t endured such a beneficial or giving destiny as others. If any of our club members were in an unfortunate and unfavorable position, we would expect others to help us combat and defeat this adversity. We follow our own advice and comply with our expectations.”
To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.