On January 17, the Thacher community traded in the usual slate of Wednesday afternoon classes for a half-day of giving back. Organized by student community service
heads Nick Amano, Apple Farrelly, and Lexie Silverman (all seniors) and Molly Perry and Heather Grant, this year’s Community Service Day was another big success and a great way for students and faculty to get involved with the wider Ojai community.
This year, though, the event held a particularly special meaning for everyone who participated, as Lexie noted: “This year’s CommServ Day was different than most, as it was entirely focused on Thomas Fire relief,” she shared. “Various groups of students and faculty volunteered throughout the Ojai Valley in numerous efforts to contribute to the recovery. Many groups helped with land restoration, while others sorted clothes and personal care items with HELP of Ojai. Projects were scattered around town as well as on campus, and overall Thacher’s participation made a huge contribution to the relief efforts throughout Ojai.”
By partnering with HELP of Ojai, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, Ojai Tree Planting, San Antonio School, The Ojai Foundation, and Upper Ojai Relief, students and faculty were able to work on a wide variety of projects, including: helping inventory food and clothing donations for those affected by the fires, lending a hand on land and trail restoration projects, planting trees in fire-devastated areas, cleaning debris from local organizations and family homes that were impacted by the fires, and more.
On campus, folks rolled up their sleeves and worked on trail revitalization, creek and campus cleanup, tree planting, and rock berm construction in areas prone to flooding or mudslides.
Of the experience, Lexie said: “CommServ Day allows me to get more involved with the greater Ojai area, to escape the ‘Thacher bubble.’ Especially with the fire relief, the event helped me recognize how fortunate we were to survive the fire, and also how devastating the damages were to those who suffered.”
“To organize all of the activities, we had to be flexible given the constant restructuring of the event, but in the end, we were able to successfully coordinate with each organization and send students to several places throughout the valley.”
She concluded: “I volunteered with the HELP of Ojai in their food pantry. The initial shock of the immeasurable quantity of non-perishables was intimidating, but we were able to help store tons of unsorted food donations and personal care items.”Learn more about community service at Thacher.