Helping Handsby Mary Cornelius, Newcomerstown, OHACCT (Adolescents and the Community Coming Together) is an organization at my high school designed to help our community. The program has received many state awards for its accomplishments. These include our canned food drive (this year we raised over 3,000 non-perishable items), crossing guards at the elementary school, and many, many more. The one service project that really sticks in my mind is one we did last spring.Southern Ohio was badly flooded, and our school wanted to help. With assistance from ACCT's advisor, we located a small town, much like ours, which was in desperate need of many items due to the flooding. ACCT members organized an emergency drive, asking for clothing, paper goods, and non-perishable food items. We did not expect to raise very much, but we knew what we did raise would help and be appreciated. Once again, the students of the school (and others) proved what a caring community we live in. We needed a semi-truck to deliver everything! When the truck reached the town, the people were amazed that our own town, with a population of about 4500, could be so generous. (We filled about half of their high school gymnasium with the goods we had collected!) We have been fortunate to keep in touch with the students from our "adopted" town, and they are doing fine.ACCT is not the only community service program in our school district. It has a sister program, PACCT (Parents, Adolescents and the Community Coming Together), at the junior high level. Junior high members work with a parent on activities, such as raking leaves for senior citizens, or Christmas caroling. PACCT has also received state recognition for its notable services.These programs show that teens can have a positive influence in and around their community. It also shows that teens have compassion, are caring people, and can answer the cry for help, whenever and wherever it is heard. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.