From working with special needs students to founding an organization to help children affected by natural disasters, two Archer students are especially dedicated to making a difference outside of Archer’s walls.
The goal of Archer’s community service requirement is for students to develop a passion for service, according to history teacher and community service adviser Theresa Dahlin.
“Besides being a part of our mission statement, [community service] is just important in life,” Dahlin said, “If you are not giving back to your community and you’re just living off what everyone else does, then you aren’t being a productive part of society.”
While all students complete the minimum hours required, some go above and beyond. Two of these students are Maya Wernick ’18 and Mari Goldberg ’17, who both participate in community service for the greater good of their community.
Meet Maya Wernick
When Maya Wernick was at a mall one weekend, she did not have the intention to run into anyone she knew. Suddenly, a bunch of teenagers ran up to her yelling her name. She turned around and saw all of the students that she works with at OurSpace LA, an organization where she volunteers.
OurSpace LA is a program that works with kids with special needs.
“The whole program works with [people] from age three to adult, but I work with the teenagers with varying degree of special needs,” Wernick said, “There isn’t really a place for them in our [current] society, [but in] the place I work, they can be themselves and are accepted for who they are.”
Wernick heard about OurSpace LA from her synagogue. Since 2014, she has passionately been working with the organization every Sunday.
“It’s the highlight of my week,” Wernick said.
Working with these children has impacted her in an unexpected way. Wernick always knew she wanted to be a teacher, but this organization made her want to be a special-ed teacher.
“I have actually made life long friends. I have learned more from them than they have learned from me,” Wernick said.
Meet Mari Goldberg
When the 2011 tsunami hit Japan, Goldberg did not sit idly by. As a sixth grader at John Thomas Dye School, Goldberg started her own organization, Cards from the Heart.
Goldberg worked with her elementary school in Los Angeles to send letters and fundraise for the Japanese children affected by the disaster.
Since the creation of her organization, Goldberg has visited Japan every summer to continue her service.
“I just love working with children and I like physically making a difference,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg has expanded her venture and now sends cards and funds to other places or countries affected by natural disasters.
“[I enjoy] doing service in general since you [see] impact you have,” Goldberg said, “It’s a really good feeling that you get after. Just the smiles on the children’s faces and seeing how happy they are when you come makes me feel really happy.”
Dahlin made it clear that Goldberg stands out amongst Archer girls.
“Mari Goldberg sticks out right away. She is very self-motivated, and she has a lot of different causes that she dedicates herself to,” Dahlin said.
Goldberg and Wernick are just two community members focused on giving back.
“Archer girls strive to be good members of society, to do good in the world and make the world a better place,” Dahlin said. “I’ve seen so many passionate Archer girls, and it’s been really inspiring.”