Lizzy Jacobs of East Granby wears a number of hats. As a committed student and involved senior at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, she is perhaps best known for her work as a member of the ACTS (A Chance to Serve) class and as a stand-out on the varsity basketball team. This February she put these two hats on simultaneously to carry out a service project at the Catholic Worker in Hartford.
An essential component of the ACTS class, Jacob’s senior religion elective, is a five-day volunteer immersion. The entire class spends five consecutive days doing good works in and around Hartford. After the immersion, each student is charged with following through with a response project — a project inspired by the intensive volunteer experience.
Jacobs explained, “On one of the days of the immersion, I went to the Catholic Worker in Hartford. They not only provide the hungry with food, but shelter the homeless and work with kids. During my time there I had an absolutely amazing time playing basketball with the kids, getting to know them, and serving lunch.” After her experience at the Catholic Worker House, Jacobs knew she would complete her response project at the organization.
The ACTS response project also requires each student draw others together for his or her community service experience. Bringing together her basketball team to complete the task made perfect sense to Jacobs. She said, “I knew I wanted to share my experience with my basketball team, and I had such a great experience at the Catholic Worker before that I knew I wanted to go back and help out again.”
Jacobs didn’t hesitate when explaining why this afternoon at the Catholic Worker was important to her. She said, “I didn't just get a chance to serve, but I got to share that same experience and feeling of making a difference with a group of girls I spend almost everyday with.”
At Northwest Catholic High School there are a myriad of ways to serve. Enrolling in the ACTS class is one way. The service hours required during each student’s sophomore year is another. But the expectation that students will give back doesn’t end with these two opportunities. Toy drives, food collections, volunteer work, and an open invitation to spearhead one’s own community service project are always available.
Photo: Northwest Catholic’s girls’ varsity basketball players smile together after serving lunch at the Catholic Worker in Hartford. Pictured on porch: Jose Echevaria; back row left to right: Lauren Murphy, Nora Staunton, Nina Singer, Kenzi Lee, Jordan Silva, Lizzy Jacobs, Taylor Griffith, Isabel Mortillaro, Caroline Rutenberg, Sophia Boudreaux, Amber Charles; front row left to right: Carly Drusedum, Yoshi Tsuruki, Tiara Honaker