January’s Community Service Award winners are all juniors who recently completed the annual junior class trip to St. Anthony’s Dining Room, operated by the St. Anthony Foundation. In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, the mission of St. Anthony Foundation is to feed, heal, shelter, clothe, lift the spirits of those in need, and create a society in which all people flourish. They are committed to providing the poor of San Francisco with basic needs and services as a gateway to reclaiming their sense of dignity and progressing toward stability. The Dining Room is located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin.

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Here’s what our award winners had to say about their experiences volunteering at St. Anthony’s.

Mary Cerf said, “Being able to serve these people allowed me to realize not only how much I have, but how much I take for granted. I take for granted big things, like a bed or shower, or as small as things like an apple. I may trade any of those things to see a smile on the face of someone who barely had a full set of cheeks or teeth, because that in itself is a reason to live. Humans are created solely to help one another, and if at the age of sixteen I was able to accomplish that, even in a small form, I am a happy camper.”

Chris Cisneros told us, “I was pretty terrified. I appreciated the way some people treated me, it really made me feel like I was part of a community. I overall made a difference whether big or small. I truly enjoyed this experience and hope to have the opportunity again.”

Next, Sky Doble noted, “The reality is that these are good people that made a few misguided decisions which placed them in the current situation they find themselves. As the day progressed, I soon forgot about where we were and it just seemed like just another neighborhood.”

Lauren Kulasingam says, “The people who really stood out for me were the people that have been stuck in the Tenderloin for several years. They have been treated like lesser for several years, but are filled with a certain type of hope. Instead of being mad about having to eat at the St. Anthony’s dining hall, they were grateful and thankful to be there and to see teenagers volunteer there.”

Finally, George Morris said, “It opened my eyes to the reality of some peoples’ lives and how fortunate we are;” while Ryan Yamaguchi said, “I felt like I had finally done something that impacted people in a good way.”

Please join us in congratulating these outstanding dedicated students on their contributions to St. Anthony’s as well as the general community.