A current trend in high schools nationwide is to incorporate community service as a requirement for all students. Many Ventura schools have already begun this practice and have incorporated volunteering for public service programs as part of their curriculum, with a designated amount of elected credits (in approved project areas) required for graduation.
Back in 2014, as a freshman at St. Bonaventure High School, student Lucas Hoffman found the perfect avenue to parlay his community school requirement and membership in a local chapter of the KIWIN’s Club, part of the Kiwanis family tree, which is dedicated to service in the community. By 2015, he was the secretary of the club. He and the then president, Jesus Fausto, wanted to create a project to help the community.
“When the time came to officially create a community project, my dad Thom, a Ventura City Firefighter, had a great idea,” said Hoffman. “He mentioned that the six fire stations around town had lots or of recyclables, and maybe we could collect them. I was immediately onboard with the idea, as well as Jesus, and from there we spoke to Matt Brock, Assistant Fire Chief of Operations with the City’s Fire Department, about collecting recyclables at the stations. Chief Brock was very excited about the idea, and from there we began the Recycle Program.”
“Chief Brock introduced us to City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability’s Courtney Lindberg, who provided us with plenty of recycle bins to distribute both at school and at the fire stations. She also helped us design a series of posters to indicate the need to recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and glass containers.”
Since the inception of the program, Hoffman and his father have been retrieving recyclables from the fire stations on a monthly basis, and, working with eight other students at St. Bonaventure High, every Wednesday and Friday. Special thanks to all student participants, especially Bridget Brokaw, Duy-An Nguyen, Song-An Nguyen, An Au, Hung Au, Nhan Thai, Tommy Lang, and Jordan Johnson, for their commitment and their help.
“Last year we garnered $550 in recyclables,” said Hoffman. “This year we’re shooting for $1,000 and already from August 2016 through January 2017, we’ve collected $500.
The funds procured by the recycling initiatives at the local fire stations and the school have been dedicated to the Pediatric Trauma Program (PTP), which helps provide education and training to communities and families about pediatric trauma and injury prevention. To date, approximately $700.00 has been raised.
“Since many of the student volunteers in the recycle program, including myself, are seniors,” continued Hoffman, “It’s our hope that a number of students following us will step up to the plate and continue the program when we leave.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better community service project,” added Hoffman, who, upon graduation, plans on attending college to earn a mechanical engineering degree. “Taking care of our environment is something I wholeheartedly believe in. It feels really good to be doing something that benefits the community.”