Paying it forward was originally formed from the idea that if one person could do three good acts to three other people and then encourage those people to do the same, our world could be more connected. The Students Today Leaders Forever program took this idea and applied it to high school and college students all over the country to prove that young people could make a difference too.
Forty-two high-school, college and adult leaders set out on a five day service trip over MEA. The third annual high school Pay it Forward Tour left Wednesday after school in hopes of doing three service projects, two college tours in four different cities over the course of five days.
Eleven students from BSM were in attendance as well as guidance counselor, Mr. Fran Roby. For a few students this was their second year on the trip, but the majority were new faces willing to give the Students Today Leaders Forever program a try.
The BSM students joined buses with kids from Champlain Park and Blaine. “We were able to become so close to people we had never met before,” said Sarah Kopp, a BSM high-school junior, “That was a big part of why this trip was so amazing.”
The students stopped in Decorah, IA; Devenport, Il; Litchfield, Il; and St. Louis, MO doing service projects in all but St. Louis. “The students were inspired to see that they can make a real difference in improving our world,” said Mr. Roby, “They volunteered in several different communities [and] experienced positive peer relationships.”
Matthew Frank, a BSM sophomore, thoroughly enjoyed his first service trip. “I met a lot of new people, had great volunteer opportunities and had a ton of fun,” said Frank.
The service projects included everything from cleaning the churches where the group stayed to cleaning up the city park in St. Louis, Missouri. “These projects were really unique,” said Kopp, “you would not get a chance to do some of them within your own community or through RKVC.”
Another unique experience this trip offered was the bond formed between high-school and college students. Aside from two adult supervisors, the leaders were college students from all over the Midwest. “The college leaders were really cool, and I hope to be a college leader myself in a couple of years,” said Kopp.
Student Danon Briggs went into this trip apprehensively. “My mom made me go and I thought it was going to be boring and lame,” said Briggs, “but now I would love to do it next year and try to get all my friends to come with me.”