Service is one of the six core values of Marian. All around the school, different groups are constantly organizing drives and fundraisers to help people in need.
The success of these drives is based solely on student participation. A large portion of drives and awareness campaigns are run by the service side of Campus Ministry FIAT, or Faith In Action Team. They seek out non-profit organizations in need and petition these ideas to Campus Ministry.
Each month, a donation drive or awareness campaign is started. Some upcoming opportunities to contribute are the Advent “Deck the Halls” awareness campaign and the “Hearts for the Heart” collection for the Heart Ministry Center in February.
Operation Others (O.O.) is also a major source for service opportunities. In November, they collected 2,592 peanut butter and jelly jars for local families in need.
“It’s disheartening when students are so willing to buy shirts that O.O. makes, but they aren’t willing to bring in peanut butter and jelly. I know that $8 is a bit of an investment, but this donation is so important because it is going directly to families in need,” senior and O.O. Core Team member Emma Shoemaker said.
“Over the holiday season, for two weeks, O.O. provides 15,000 families with meals and peanut butter and jelly is a staple for these families. I would like to personally thank everyone who did participate in the drive. Many families will have a brighter Christmas thanks to you,” Shoemaker said.
It is a common misconception that only Campus Ministry or O.O. start campaigns and drives. This is not at all the case. In fact, Deacon Kevin Fuller, Campus Minister, encourages all girls to get involved.
“We are always looking for new drive ideas and campaigns. If the exact drive or campaign does not fit specifically into our schedule, we are more than happy to help the student start this campaign on their own,” Fuller said.
In October, junior Lily Nelson decided she was very passionate about starting a jersey drive. Students were encouraged to bring in old uniform jerseys that would be donated to children in Uganda.
“I worked with sophomore Kayla Gornall on this jersey drive, but it was so much fun and not hard to organize. The administration was so easy to work with, and they were really excited about the project,” Nelson said.
Although drives from various groups at Marian are organized, students should be aware that service drives and campaigns will be changing next year.
“I love the idea of helping as many people as possible, but the administration is looking to narrow down the amount of drives each school year,” Principal Susie Sullivan said.
The idea behind this is that Marian has many drives that sometimes even overlap. The excessive amount of drives also limits the participation and can make them less successful.
“I think it is important to be absolutely sure that the drives that directly impact Marian and or the Omaha community are reaching their goals because the success of these organizations solely depend on Marian,” Sullivan said.
Next year, the administration plans to organize the process differently with the hope of it being easier for all students to participate.
When looking at all drives, rewards are a huge factor. The O.O. goals in the past years were not met. A goal of 2,500 jars for the peanut butter and jelly drive was set this year, but the reward of a school day off was put on the table.
“I do not like the idea of rewards to help those in need, but there are people and organizations that rely on us. I wish that we would reach our goal just because girls wanted to help, and then after, I could reward the students with a day off, but more initial incentive was needed,” Sullivan said.
“It is disheartening that there needed to be a reward to encourage people to help the community, but the overall success of the drive was due largely in part to the free day being offered. I’m glad that the administration saw that there was a problem and offered the free day as a way to fix this problem,” Shoemaker said.
As the holiday season approaches, girls should be listening to announcements, checking the daily bulletin and asking others what they can be doing to help.