Sometimes the real world is the best classroom and it’s the students who can teach us the most.
And Mr. William Heuisler and his students from Animo South Los Angeles Charter High School are teaching us that the spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in our Los Angeles youth.
Every year, United Way of Greater Los Angeles hosts the annual HomeWalk 5K Family Run/Walk to end homelessness in LA County. William Heuisler and his students have been volunteering at the water stations for more than five years. What started as a humble group of 10 students in 2011 has transformed into a 20-30 student to volunteer team each year.
"Asking high school juniors and seniors to wake up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday is a tall order, but the kids who make that sacrifice love the experience."
“Asking high school juniors and seniors to wake up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday is a tall order, but the kids who make that sacrifice love the experience. Some relish the manual labor aspect of loading and unloading pallets of bottled water. Others love the cheerleader aspect of being out on the course and motivating the runners/walkers. And still others are quick to realize how good it feels to be a part of something like this,” explained Heuisler to UWGLA. “Regardless of how it affects my kids, on the Monday after the event, all students proudly wear their HomeWalk t-shirts and share their stories with peers.”
Heuisler credits his early exposure to giving back, to his passion for teaching students about the benefits and value of personal volunteerism. Looking back, he realized that the students who volunteer at HomeWalk also end up participating in other community service events throughout the year -- and he credits their experience with HomeWalk for having helped start a legacy of community service at his school.