National Junior Honor Society Learns Empathy Through Community Service

Katie Martin
The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) has had a busy semester serving the local community in various capacities. In October, eleven students from Riverside served the community at the "Home Plate Project". Home Plate Project is a collaboration with the Atlanta Braves, Chick-fil-A, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Kings Hawaiian, and Urban Recipe to distribute food to those in need.

The boys were not only able to help families, but they also gained a greater understanding of the struggles many families face to make ends meet. The experience gave the students a greater sense of empathy and compassion as they served community members who waited more than an hour to receive a box of food.

Riverside’s NJHS did so well with the Home Plate Project that word spread and they were invited to help with a Christmas initiative through the We Care Foundation. This foundation helps provide gifts and clothing to the children of parents and guardians who are working full-time and are not being assisted through other non-profits for the holidays. More than 850 children were served through the project, and members of Riverside's NJHS assisted by unloading and sorting gifts for easy distribution to families.

NJHS Advisor, Dr. Earline Matney, said, "As always, the boys showed up eager and ready to work. They had great attitudes despite having to wake up earlier than usual and trek out into the rain. I am very proud of their efforts, and we raise the bar every time we commit to serve the community."

The NJHS is currently planning a teacher appreciation breakfast for the staff at Riverside and hopes to start a greenhouse on campus. “We’re hoping our reputation will speak for itself; when there’s a need, they’ll know who to call,” Dr. Matney said.