Life of a Brave: Men of Service During “Season of Giving” and Beyond

by Che Womack, Contributing Writer

With the season of giving nearly approaching, the urge to help others in need comes into full force. However, this desire to assist those who need help is not limited to just the holiday season. It is a way of life that should embody a person’s character all year long. 

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This desire to give is represented in full force by the St. John Bosco Christian Service Program at Skid Row in Los Angeles, California, which takes place throughout the school year.

The St. John Bosco High School Service Program is an aspect of the school that pertains to the student body, reaching out to foundations and helping others in need. Students are required to achieve a certain amount of service hours each year in order to graduate.

However, the impulse to help others does not only come from the faculty and staff but from the student body itself. Many students have dedicated countless hours of their personal time as it genuinely lets them enjoy time away from themselves to help the less fortunate.

“Bosco’s service hours have helped me realize a lot about myself,” says St. John Bosco senior Jean Martin. “I’ve gone to many places such as Skid Row and the beach, to help not only people but the earth itself. I’m really glad I came to a school that persuades us to make a change in our community.”

One of the main establishments the school helps is the food service program at Skid Row. Skid Row is an area in Downtown Los Angeles where the homeless population accumulates to approximately 5,000-8,000 people.

Although, the numbers of the homeless may seem high, there are many programs and organizations that assume to help these people with shelter, food, drink — including St. John Bosco.

Many teachers take the venture out to Los Angeles with students and enjoy the day at Skid Row as well. St. John Bosco teachers get the opportunity to feed, speak with and the homeless during their trip.

“You know about homeless people and all of that, but to put a face on it and interact with them, you usually don’t get to have that kind of experience,” said St. John Bosco science teacher Michelle Dolphin. “It’s made a huge difference within our community.”

The connection between St. John Bosco and the Skid Row Program comes from former religion teacher Jack Hastert. Mr. Hastert has been long involved with many programs during this time at the school, but most knowingly: Skid Row. He has enjoyed his time — with the help of his family — helping others in the Los Angeles area.

“I first started taking Bosco students to the Los Angeles Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen on skid row in 1979-80 school year.” Mr. Hastert said. “My contributions include donating money and on occasion going out to feed people.”

Because of this branch, St. John Bosco has been able to be a part of a human-phenomenon that helps the less fortunate, provides a meal and promotes a human-capitalism that values dignity of dollar signs.

While Christmas may be called the “Season of Giving,” the desire to help at Bosco spans much more than a couple months. It is a way of life that stems from the Salesian Brotherhood.

That is love. That is Bosco.

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