Coastal Studies students in Freeport practice service, gratitude

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FREEPORT — The third class of sophomores at Coastal Studies for Girls spent a week giving back to the community as a way to promote the cornerstones of the program.

The 15 students who attend the country’s only residential, semester-long science and leadership school for girls spent the past week painting at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, spring cleaning at the school, clearing trails on Cow Island for Rippleffect, sorting clothes and peeling potatoes at the Freeport Community Center and leading a workshop for girls in fourth through sixth grades at the Hardy Girls, Healthy Women conference in Waterville.

Emma Rain Maasch, a 15-year-old student from Portland, said that while she has enjoyed being a part of a close community at CSG, she felt honored to reach out, interact with and give back to the greater community.

“It is very gratifying to take what we learn – how to be a leader, how to use our strengths to help others – and apply it to the world around us,” she said. “I realized I don’t have to go out of my way to schedule service projects, a simple interface, conversation, or act can contribute to the greater good.”

Nyrobi Tyson, a 15-year-old from Asheville, N.C., said she especially enjoyed talking with young girls about leadership opportunities and marine science.

“It was so much fun it didn’t feel like volunteering,” she said. “My time here has been such a positive learning experience. If I can take what I learn and give it back it will just continue to grow.”

Marine science teacher Loraine Washburn said the school community feels very strongly about giving back to the surrounding community. She said as part of the service week the students wrote thank-you letters to people who have supported the school. 

“It is great to see the appreciation in the faces of the people we worked with, and nice to thank those who make this education a reality,” Washburn said.

Ginger Jones, the school’s development and marketing director, said the students donated 465 hours of time during the service week.

“With every semester we work to develop programs that will reinforce our core values of gratitude, giving and appreciation,” she said. “The Community Service Week does just that and the girls have embraced it wholeheartedly.”

Debbie Daggett, volunteer coordinator at the Freeport Community Center, said the students helped with the everyday tasks that are not glamorous, but necessary. She said the girls approached all their tasks with “great energy and enthusiasm.”

“Their sunny attitudes and willingness to tackle absolutely anything made them perfect volunteers,” she said. “We loved getting to know them — and with gratitude, we look forward to working with the students again as soon as possible.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

During spring break, students at Coastal Studies for Girls participated in a Community Service Week. Pictured from left, are sophomores Lindsay Pollock, Ari Demetroulakos and Bina Vadnais who volunteered to peel potatoes at the Freeport Community Center. Other students sorted items and dressed mannequins at the Clothes Tree Thrift Shop. The class also volunteered at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, Cow Island and Hearty Girls, Healthy Women.

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