Project 351

stephanie

Project 351
- Stephanie St. Louis, SOWMA Program Assistant

Today, I attended the 2015 launch of Project 351, a non-profit organization fueled by eighth-graders providing a year of service, at Faneuil Hall in Boston. SOWMA founder and executive director, Cheryl Opper and community outreach coordinator, Dianne Sproul were helping staff register students in the morning, while also collecting books that SOWMA and another organizations were chosen to receive. I arrived in time to hear Bill Richard, father of Boston marathon bombing victim Martin Richard, speak. Following his speech, the 400 students were sent across Boston in groups to provide their services. During this time the special guests had lunch with Congressman (D-MA) Seth Moulton.

The staff was excited to hear that someone from School on Wheels was there for the remainder of the day. My special guest and friend, Barbara and I were placed with Group 4, who spent their service time at the Pine Street Inn. Pine Street Inn provides a range of services including permanent supportive housing, job training and placement, emergency shelter and street outreach to more than 1,600 homeless men and women each day in the city of Boston. There were three activities: making lunch, creating comfort goodie bags, and mural painting. We joined the group painting murals. The completed murals will be given to people placed in permanent housing. We sat next to two girls, Shannon from Bridgewater and Ashley from Waltham. It was a lot of fun getting to know these young women as we painted, laughed, talked about life and their dreams for the future. As an alumni of Commonwealth Corps and having already completed a year of service, I could relate to their stories and offer advice.

Around 4PM Governor Baker was set to speak and have the students sworn in. Barbara and I were unable to meet or hear him speak due to the hall filling up fast but we had a wonderful day nonetheless!

-Stephanie St. Louis

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