Service Path Recognition Inspires Engagement, Focus, Dedication

Students respond to need in community

Annabelle+Swigert+%E2%80%9822%2C+center+front%2C+and+Planned+Parenthood+Teen+Council+sport+their+new+shirts.

Submitted by: Annabelle Swigert

Annabelle Swigert ‘22, center front, and Planned Parenthood Teen Council sport their new shirts.

Shira Aronow, Staff Writer

Community service takes many forms within Blake, whether that be in service oriented clubs, all school service days, or in the variety of service opportunities that members of the community participate in individually.

One way that Blake acknowledges the individual work of students outside of the school community is through the Service Path Recognition, which is awarded to students who complete one hundred or more hours of service and reflection during the year.   

While the Recognition may not seem prevalent to many members of the community throughout the year, it is something that many students spend much of their time outside of school working towards.

Annabelle Swigert ’22 is partaking in a Service Path this year through her participation on the Planned Parenthood Teen Council. The council, as Swigert describes, is, “made up of about ten teens across Minneapolis, and we meet weekly for three hours on Monday nights at Planned Parenthood in Saint Paul, and then we go and teach Sex ed[ucation] in schools, [such as] Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools. So we learn content, and we do presentations, and it’s really cool.”

 In terms of balancing this commitment with her other activities, including two sports, Swigert adds, “In the end, I think the payoff is worth it. I love my sports, and I also love doing this and being outside of a community that’s not Blake and meeting new people.”

Swigert became interested in Planned Parenthood because of her family’s prior involvement with the organization, and her family knows some people that work there. “I wanted to build a platform because this could be something that I want to do in the future and [to] kind of [get] that experience,” Swigert states.

She continues, “I know there have been [Blake] students in the past that have been on Teen Council, which also just kind of legitimized it a little bit, and I knew that people were supportive of it in the Blake community.”

After completing some of her service hours during the summer, Amanda Ward ’21 also plans to apply for the Service Path Recognition at the end of the school year. Ward began working towards her Service Path by volunteering this past summer. She states, “My Service Path is going to reflect the amount of time I put into volunteering at the Children’s Museum this year,” an opportunity she discovered during Blake’s Leadership Fair last year. She also mentions that she volunteered with an additional organization, Interfaith Outreach, and became interested in volunteering there because of her mom’s prior involvement.

The service work of individuals, while at times seemingly disconnected from the lives of students, does affect many members of the community throughout the year.

Time spent volunteering for one’s Service Path plays a role in balancing commitments and school, and it gives many students the opportunity to meet new people and gain new experiences and perspectives.

As Swigert explains, “I totally get [that] getting consistent service for 100 hours is really really difficult, especially if you want to do other sports, but it is possible.”