The Temple Academy Outreach Team is a community serviced-oriented group of 7th through 12th grade students led by junior high and high school science teacher Rachel Baker. Kevin Wood, Superintendent of the pre-K-12, non-denominational Christian school shared his vision with Ms. Baker for a service-based team at the start of the 2020/2021 school year. Within a short period of time the team was formed, organized, and committed. They enthusiastically hit the ground running throughout the community.
They have worked on several different community projects in the area. In the Fall the team performed yard clean up chores for several local residents in different neighborhoods. They participated in the “Crusin’ Country” 93.5’s “Put a Sock in It” Sock Drive in December, collecting 238 pairs of new socks, which the students decided to donate to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. The team has developed an ongoing relationship with the Winslow Community Cupboard, whose food pantry is open every other Thursday. The entire student body from seventh through 12th grade gets involved in this program. Ms. Baker takes multiple grade levels once a month, in shifts, to the Cupboard to volunteer.
Adalia Harrington, a 12th grade student at Temple Academy and Outreach Team president shares her feelings about being a member of this team, “After the devastating year our world has faced, I am privileged to be part of a group that restores the hope in our community and spreads the message that we are in this together!”
Ms. Baker states, “The heart of our mission is to promote a culture that regularly engages the student body in meeting needs in our community through acts of service. We want our students to experience the value of serving others. When you humble yourself to do something kind for someone else, it does something inside of you. It can deeply touch both the person serving and the one being served. With Temple Academy being a small school, I was immediately impressed with the level of interest at our very first meeting. The students are a committed and hard-working group and I am truly fortunate to have the privilege of working alongside of them. It is amazing for me to see these students shine during our events; they work so hard! And the best part of it is, I can tell the students are really enjoying themselves because of how happy they are while volunteering. This is truly an enlightening experience for every student that participates.”
She continues: “We were fortunate to make a connection early on with Bruce Bottigliere at the Winslow Community Cupboard. We have been able to plug our student volunteers into the various programs they have there. Together in March, we are working on scheduling a USDA Farmers to Families Food Box distribution site at our school. This will allow us to give every student in our entire school the opportunity to participate and experience the feeling of serving. I am thankful for our students, our parents, and our entire faculty who are so incredibly supportive in the efforts in making our vision a reality. We are Temple!”
(Plans are currently in the works for an opportunity this month at the First Choice Pregnancy Center.) This Spring the team is working on solidifying partnerships with the Alfond Youth & Community Center and with the city of Waterville to create some annual community projects. If you have any ideas on how their team may be able to get involved in your community or in your event, you are encouraged to contact MS. Baker at her contact information stated above.