Service for All
Everyone, of all abilities, deserves a chance to help improve another person’s life.
Lizzie Friedman lives in Glencoe, Illinois which is a forty-five minute drive to Chicago. In fifth grade, she began volunteering at numerous organizations through her middle school. After that initial year, her love for impacting her community grew and led her to Alzar School.
At home, she constantly surrounds herself with students with special needs through extracurricular activities and during her school day. She is part of the Enriching Lives Through Service club where she helps in Special Education classrooms during her free periods at school and also participates in their monthly celebrations. She is also part of the High Five Choir at her school where students of all abilities come together in the choir room to sing and perform everyday. After school, Lizzie spends time with these same students at Dance Motion Club (a fun dance group for students of all abilities), Special Olympics (a team of athletes with special needs from the middle schools and coaches from the high schools), and Finding Purple club (an arts and crafts club with a group of students of all abilities). Along with those clubs, this is Lizzie’s seventh year at Special Gifts Theatre (SGT) and her second year on their advisory board. SGT play practices occur every week and the practices lead up to a play in which students with special needs take on roles in the show and their general education peers are on stage supporting them.
For Lizzie’s CLP, called “Service for All,” she wanted to combine her love of volunteering by making service more accessible for her friends in the Special Education department at her school and in her community. After volunteering at Cradles to Crayons with her family, Lizzie reached out to see if they could help with her mission and they agreed to host her CLP action day. Cradles to Crayons has a factory located in the city where they donate toys, clothing, school supplies, and other items to families in need. Her goal is to spread her love of service by making it accessible to everyone.
At the end of semester twelve, Lizzie won the CLP Pitch contest and received seed money to help start her project. Lizzie hopes that her project will help create a more inclusive volunteer opportunity.
Implementation of Project
Lizzie began spreading awareness about her project by handing out half-page fliers at school during High Five Choir. She had trouble knowing if each slip made it home to parents and was not receiving many responses. After a few weeks went by, Lizzie emailed a couple of the parents who had kids in the special education program asking them to spread the word. She emailed back and forth with many parents, addressing any and all questions and concerns.
On action day everyone worked very hard to provide the best quality service and everyone had fun working with their friends. Lizzie’s group worked to clean and test toys for quality and for how fun they were. It was very hard work because no kid wants a beaten up and used toy.
“I was looking around before all the volunteers came in and I thought to myself – How on earth is this actually happening? My CLP is today! – I was so nervous yet so excited.” – Lizzie Friedman
Results of Project
The Action Day was Lizzie’s favorite part! Twenty people came and volunteered as a group at the toy cleaning session. The day started off with some breakfast in a conference room where Lizzie explained her motive behind planning her CLP. She then explained how everyone could help out at the station. They worked hard cleaning and testing toys. Lizzie said that the entire room was filled with laughter and that she could tell that everyone started to understand the significance of their hard work. Along with sorting the toys, people in the group wrote “feel good cards” that would get put in the care packages. After an hour and thirty minutes of volunteering, the group gathered again in the conference room. The volunteers went around sharing and debriefing their experiences and the impact of the day. Lizzie is extremely grateful to all of the parents and students that helped make this experience possible. This Action Day left everyone with smiling faces and an appreciation for doing service, just as Lizzie had hoped.
“I am so beyond grateful for all of the amazing volunteers who helped out at Cradles to Crayons. I loved seeing peers work together to help people outside of our community.” – Lizzie Friedman
Lizzie plans to host another service morning with an even bigger group in the spring. Parents have been spreading the word about “Service for All” and Lizzie is confident that the group will grow in size. During the implementation of her project, Lizzie was a junior in high school and is hoping that her CLP will continue after she graduates.
“Hopefully, this can be an event that everyone looks forward to each semester.” – Lizzie Friedman