Because of Bullis

Because of Bullis

Through community service, everyone benefits.

Gabby McIntosh, (at the piano) Dr. Sara Romeyn, Justin Schuble, Max Bramson, Jessica Mays, Allison Leasure, Chandler Bryant, Amala Nixon and Sarah Bair volunteer at Manor Care.

Gabby McIntosh, (at the piano) Dr. Sara Romeyn, Justin Schuble, Max Bramson, Jessica Mays, Allison Leasure, Chandler Bryant, Amala Nixon and Sarah Bair volunteer at Manor Care.

“Because of Bullis, A Wider Circle has a more dignified space. Because of Bullis’ lacrosse team, we were able to unload 300 mattresses in a couple of hours — giving 300 more Montgomery County residents a bed to sleep in that evening. Because of Bullis, we have a new book and toy area for the children whose parents use our services,” said Mark Bergel, founder and executive director A Wider Circle, a Silver Spring non-profit charitable agency.

Bergel is grateful for the organization’s partnership with Bullis — and for the many students who volunteer their time, energy and muscle for community service.

“These students came here and created a dignified space for our clients and their children. It was just amazing that these kids are so ahead of their years in understanding what is needed,” he said.

“At Christmas, they created a North Pole where families could pick up new toys and books for their children. They also had a book and blanket drive in which they collected 1200 books and 150 blankets. Their community service has been exceptionally meaningful.”

The Wider Circle is one of the many Montgomery County organizations that benefit from the Bullis Community Service program.

The Upper School program is led by staff members Dr. Sara Romeyn and Marty Berger. “Bullis students volunteer at The Diener School, Manor Care, Manna Food Bank, collect shoes for the needy in Haiti, create Valentines for wounded vets and Lombardi Center cancer patients, collect Pennies for Patients and toys and sports equipment for the less fortunate,” Romeyn said.

She cites other community service activities: “Ten students are headed to Guatemala to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, 12 will participate in West Virginia and more than eighty are planning to participate in local builds after their AP exams.”

Every Thursday, students walk across Falls Road to Manor Care to spend time with residents in group activities. They do arts and crafts, frost cupcakes, make gingerbread houses or perform musical shows for them — but mostly the students just enjoy sharing time and stories with the residents. “They tell us interesting stories about their careers and their lives. One resident that I work with was an artist and textile designer — and she loves it when we work together on art projects,” said Bullis student Justin Schuble.

Allison Leasure tries to come every week and has enjoyed getting to know most of the residents. “I get a lot of pleasure from spending time with them. I also volunteer with Bullis at Martha’s Table and the Diener school. It’s always fun and makes me feel good.”

Ninth grader Sarah Bair enjoys that many of the residents have the same interests as the students.

Students also regularly coordinate fundraising efforts to support causes and address needs outside of Montgomery County. Recent fundraisers have generated thousands of dollars in donations to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, hurricane Katrina, the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami, breast cancer awareness, and the children of the victims of 9-11.

“Our students are not required to perform community service as a graduation requirement. However, service is key to helping students gain a broader perspective of the world around them. We want to instill the intrinsic values of respect, diversity and service in well-rounded students,” said Romeyn.