When MHS sophomores Christina Lavin and Teresa La started their Making a Difference (MAD) club, they wanted to show the Montclair community how high school students can make a huge difference when working together for positive change. The club originally formed as a way to get community service hours, but in trying times they have formed an organization that is much more than that. Their goal for this year is to make Montclair a more united and prosperous community by working with local charities and organizations as well as individuals in need. The first step to making this effort all-inclusive is welcoming ideas and suggestions from both existing members and students wanting to give some imput without making a big time commitement. Teresa and Christina encourage anyone who wants to, to sit in on club meetings. The club leaders hope to give visiting students a sense of what their club is all about, but also give them an opportunity to receive community service hours and get an update about current issues in town. One weekend, by breaking up into five groups of volunteers, MAD helped out at Paws Animal Shelter, The Montclair Library, a nearby church, as well as cleaned up two parks.
Although this club is reaching out to organizations all over town, they are still extremely dedicated to making a positive change in the MHS community. MAD club has helped out with school events such as LGBTQ Wear Purple Day and teamed up with CSJ lab classes to help them with their large projects. The club is also making a great effort to raise money for Dimitri Vallejo, a MHS freshman recently diagnosed with leukemia. In collaboration with CSJ, they held a bake sale to raise money and are in the process of planning a Winter Dance, both held in Dimitri’s name, (for details see bottom). Another upcoming event that the club is organizing is a Freshman vs. Sophomore football game.
With big goals of eventually spreading the idea to other towns of high schoolers banding together to create “a more ideal society”, we haven’t heard the last of this club yet. Christina Lavin says, “though club meetings are every Wednesday, we do more than just sit in a classroom and talk about what needs to be done. I want people to be able to participate not only in the organization of events, but also in the events themselves. The awareness we raise comes from the actual events themselves, and not just the planning and time that is put into making them happen.” With a bright future ahead of them, Making a Difference wants the MHS community to be aware of any issues that might arise near them or near their friends. Students should know that this club is always there to help with any issue, no matter how large or small.
The Dimitri Vallejo Winter Dance will be held on December 17 at St. James’ Episcopal Church. All are welcome, but tickets are limited. For more information see Teresa La or Christina Lavin or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.