Sanctuary’s am2pm program connects our community in so many ways!
1. High School youth seeking community service experience gain over 50 hours of service;
2. through a diverse collection of service and spiritual opportunities youth and neighbors develop connections and make a difference;
from Hillside Community Church and Sanctuary UCC!
3. with fun, caring, volunteers and staff we cross boundaries and make a difference!
Read on to hear from local teen participants, Ruth and Audrey; past participant turned am2pm leader, AJ; am2pm director and pastor of Hillside Community Church, Rev. Tom Hathaway; and renowned artist, Gay Cox; for 1-2-3-4-5 perspectives on how this incredible week touched them and others!
am2pm is a program of Hillside Community Church and Sanctuary UCC
“This was the first time I have attended AM2PM. One thing there is no doubt about was how much fun everything was. Whether we were doing the hardest and messiest or easier and cleanest things, it was still the most fun anyone could have. The leaders were amazing, always making sure that everyone was included and participating. It was amazing to feel so comfortable around the students and leaders, as well as those outside of the program that we went to help out a little. Being able to know that there was some, even a little, difference made during the adventures, was the most inspiring and motivating event possible. Although it is not required to go, AM2PM will definitely be seeing me more often from this point on. I think I speak for all those involved with the effects of this program when I say that I could not thank the people who started this program enough; nobody could.”
“This year I participated in AM2PM, which is a weeklong community service program, from June 22 to June 28. From 8am to 6pm each day, we performed acts of community service including helping the homeless, cleaning out basements, and weeding. We did A LOT of weeding. We also built community garden beds, facilitated a talk on gun violence, and had lunch with an artist. I especially enjoyed the multiple activities that involved helping the homeless people in and around Cambridge. We served at the Friday Cafe, handed out sandwiches, and prepared toilets kits. At the Friday Cafe, which is kind of like a soup kitchen, we figured out that I am the supreme dishwasher lol. My other favorite activity was probably visiting Wright-Locke farm in Winchester. Although we did more weeding there, it was still fun to see (and hold) the animals. For me, the worst activity we did was clean out a church basement. One sink that Medha, Drexel, and I cleaned was absolutely disgusting! But anyway, I enjoyed the week because I got to meet new kids and we bonded over stuff like the best Disney channel show and Disney movie of all time (Hannah Montana and Mulan if you wanted to know). The week was tiring but a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend the AM2PM program or do it again next year :)”
My initial introduction to am2pm was as a participant in the first year of the summer youth community service program (2016) as a rising high school junior. This past spring, Rev. Tom Hathaway asked if I would consider being a leader for this year’s program and I jumped at the opportunity.
I enjoyed every minute of the experience the first time I participated, though it was grueling work in certain instances. But being a leader instead of a volunteer gave me new insights. It became much more than a way to check off one’s high school volunteer requirement. Rather it became real way to help those who are in need.
The truth is, by the time I graduated from Medford High (only a few weeks ago), I had clocked over 500 hours of community service work (I am a pastor’s kid)! I tell you not to boast, but to offer the context that I have had a plethora of community service experiences and am2pm was one that was truly memorable. From serving at soup kitchens to cleaning out disgusting basements, from interacting with each other through beautiful art to pulling weeds that were choking a farmer’s crops – I was given the chance to help a great number of people in a short time.
I enjoyed my time in this role immensely, creating community relationships that I will continue to cherish. And we had a lot of fun – working together and learning from each other and our neighbors. While the work and the personal connections were fulfilling in and of themselves – perhaps the best reward came when the person who was being helped smiled. Whether they said thank you or not, the smile was all I needed.
I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone who enjoys helping others and would like to make a legitimate change in their community.
Rev. Gay Cox, Visiting Artist #am2pm2018
A Few More Photos