NDA Serves: Students to Serve at More Than 80 Sites on April 19


Matthew Kini and Michael Gregoire at Notre Dame Middle School

Abby Wittler, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

On April 19 the NDA student body will be off to serve the Green Bay community for the annual NDA Serves Day.

This event has evolved from a school-wide six-mile walk where students collected pledges to the event that it is today.

“It was our school president, Mr. Mike Gross, who suggested a Service Day project to Student Government instead of the walk,” said English teacher Carolyn Brown, Student Government moderator at the time.  She has seen how this day has changed throughout her more than 20 years teaching at NDA.

That first year of NDA Serves only 150 students went out to sites in the community.

“The response by the students and the appreciation of the community led to our making the big leap of sending everyone, staff as well as students, out to service sites,” said Brown.

Eventually the idea of collecting pledges for service, an idea held over from the walk, was dropped.  

“More and more we found ourselves thinking collecting pledges seemed to defeat the purpose of serving,” said Brown.  “Most kids were getting a check for $65–the minimum they were supposed to collect– from their parents, so it was like another tuition fee.”

The job of contacting, setting up, and coordinating with all of the service sites used to be the responsibility of the Outreach Branch adviser, who was also a full-time teacher, but the time-consuming, daunting task was eventually passed on to a staff member.  NDA Serves is no longer under the auspices of Student Government but is a project coordinated by the school administration.

Today, the staff member who coordinates NDA Serves is Mrs. Jessica Sidon in the Main Office, who happens to be a former participant herself.

“When I was a student here, they did have the volunteer day. I remember signing up to serve at Syble Hopp School and the looks on the students’ faces and how appreciative and fascinated they were has always stayed with me,” said the current coordinator of NDA Serves.

There are over 80 sites for students to go to this year throughout Green Bay, West DePere and Howard.

The process of getting access to all of the sites starts with contacting them and asking if they need our students to come in and help. Once that is all settled, the type of work, how many students and how many chaperones will be needed has to be sorted out.

There are many sites that we have been sending students to since back when I was a student,” said Sidon. “They have always been able to work with NDA and are much appreciated.”

The work that is put into this one day is considerable but worth it to help out the local community, not to mention the learning experience for those who serve.

“For me, I feel that this is all worth it in the end. If this day can help one student see that if you give with love, and willingly, you will receive so much more,” said Sidon.