Making a Difference: PWHS World Language Clubs

Eight students and teacher in a groupThe French, Spanish and Latin Clubs at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) held a friendly competition between Thanksgiving and the Winter Break to see which group could collect the most items for two local programs that help the needy.

For more than four weeks, the students gathered toiletries, canned goods, clothing and warm weather accessories to go to homeless Philadelphians nearby and Syrian refugees on the other side of the ocean.

Donating items — and giving their time

Through the students' generosity, the Narenj Tree Foundation in Norristown, who regularly sends large shipping containers of donations to Syrian refugee camps overseas, received more than a dozen bags of clothing and other necessities. The clubs also worked together to fill 200 stockings with toiletries, gloves, hats and scarves that were distributed to homeless people who stopped by the Grace Cafe on Arch Street in Philadelphia for Christmas Eve dinner or breakfast on Christmas Day. The students who dropped off the donations also stayed to help serve the dinner.

Several students organizing donations in a classroom.

"I couldn't believe how generous my students were," said Katy Geare, Spanish Club advisor and PWHS teacher. "Not only did they bring bags upon bags of clothing, food and toiletry items to donate, they were excited to volunteer their time, too!"

Making connections and additional opportunities

During their visit to the cafe, the team also met someone involved in Taller Puertoriqueno and Mighty Writers—El Futuro, programs that promote the Puerto Rican culture and literacy, respectively, for children and youth in Philadelphia.

"We're excited to work with them in the future, and find new opportunities to help those in our community," added Geare.

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Making a Difference: PWHS World Language Clubs