Community service may be viewed as something our students need to perform to achieve extracurricular goals or strengthen college applications, but in reality, it is more than that. We are fortunate to have many Mt. Lebanon teens who actively volunteer their time and make significant contributions to our community. I am proud of the service work our teenagers perform and I would like to highlight several recent ways our town has benefited.
Over the past year, I have been asked to attend Boy Scouts Eagle Court of Honor ceremonies. We, the Commission, are thrilled when the scouts have an interest in helping our community. They present their ideas and then work hard to transform those ideas into a finished project. Andrew Uffelman recently built a special bench at Foster School to promote an anti-bullying atmosphere. Samuel Kniola created a public service announcement for the TOPSoccer program, which gives children with special needs the opportunity to play soccer. Alexander Peltz designed and built five American flag retirement boxes to collect worn and torn American flags that are no longer fit to fly. One of these collection boxes is located at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. Samuel Menk refurbished an old ice cart into a mobile outreach cart to be used around Mt. Lebanon for storytelling, information, library promotion and library awareness.
Several scout-led projects have also improved our parks. Gerard Cline built a bird blind in Twin Hills Park. David Deniziuk, Luke Morgan and Dennis Shapiro designed and completed their own restoration projects of some badly eroded walking trails in Bird Park. Hunter McQuaide built a bridge that connects adjoining trails in Bird Park with a memorial stone dedicated to honor his late scoutmaster, Todd Kniola. Mt. Lebanon is better off for these efforts, and we are thankful to the Eagle Scouts and leaders for their volunteerism.
Veterans in Mt. Lebanon and the Pittsburgh area will now have greater ability to attend the Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) meetings regardless of the ability to pay, because of a Mt. Lebanon High School student’s hard work. The VBC is a local organization that brings together veterans to share stories about their military experiences. However, there is a fee to attend the events. Everett Meer, a Mt. Lebanon High School student, began a fundraising project called “Treasure Our Veterans” and donated his time by designing and selling T-shirts and other creative efforts. His fundraising earned enough money to host more than 25 VBC events.
Community service comes in many forms, but one local organization, the Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh, takes great care in providing a supportive and inclusive environment where genuine friendships can form in a non-judgmental way. Families of children and teens who have special needs along with teen volunteer members, staff and administration make up the Friendship Circle family. Friendship Circle offers many fun programs to foster friendships such as Cooking Club, South Hills Bowling and Friends at Home programs. A number of Mt. Lebanon students like Evan and Bryan Bahm, Ashley Goodell and Shayna Silverman have been volunteering with Friendship Circle for several years.
Mt. Lebanon is fortunate to have these committed teens and the many others who engage in volunteer work and community service throughout the year. I appreciate the time and energy these volunteers give to our community.
Editor’s note: Mt. Lebanon Magazine is always looking to write about teen volunteer projects. If you have a good project, we’d love to hear about it. Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!