August 30th 2013
Hundreds of Moorestown High School students took a break from summer vacation this week to volunteer at UrbanPromise's flood-damaged CamdenForward School.
While most high school students are busy squeezing every last bit of R and R out of their summer vacation before it ends in 10 days, a group of about 300 Moorestown High School-ers spent the better part of the past week straining and sweating fixing up the flood-damaged CamdenForward School.
The school—a private, Christian elementary and middle school operated by UrbanPromise in Pennsauken—was badly damaged by flooding after a recent rainstorm. Faced with serious mold issues just days before it was scheduled to open, UrbanPromise turned to Moorestonian Jim Dugan, who has assisted the nonprofit with a number of projects in the past, for help.
Soon after getting the call, Dugan, also known for his many mission trips to repair homes in West Virginia through the Appalachia Service Project (or ASP), hopped on his bicycle and peddled over to the Moorestown High School athletic fields to find recruits.
He pulled aside multiple coaches, who were readying their teams for fall sports, to draft students for the cleanup at the CamdenForward School.
To hear the students tell it, they didn’t need much convincing.
“When Jim called me, I could not resist it,” said junior Emily Brown. “I didn’t hesitate.”
Brown has gone on a number of ASP trips and said she “wanted to get that feeling back, of helping someone for the price of nothing.”
Several other students echoed Emily, including senior Ellie McGarvey, who said, “We come from a really fortunate town. People don’t understand that other people don’t have the same privileges we do.”
“It’s really rewarding,” said junior Natalie Soffronoff. “I almost feel like we get more out of it than the kids who go here … It’s the least we could do for how much we have.”
Dugan said roughly 300 students have volunteered their time at varying intervals throughout the week—ripping up carpet, repainting, sanding, moving furniture, etc.—and many of them have been there all week, including several who have jobs. The project should be finished by the end of the week, in time for the school to reopen Monday—just one week late.
“It just all kind of came together in one week,” said Dugan. “It’s just a wonderful example of humanity here … The athletes of Moorestown came down here on their last week of vacation to rebuild (the school), which I think is pretty damn awesome.”
Written by: Rob Scott, Moorestown Patch