Maranatha High School students took a walk of faith last week to Pasadena City Hall, the start of what might become an annual tradition.
Amid the chirping of morning birds and freshly dewed streets on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 19, about 350 students, freshmen to seniors, divvied up into small groups with school staff chaperones and took separate walking tours from the school’s campus to Garfield Avenue.
As they walked, they discussed ways they might volunteer for the city during their student service projects in November.
“It’s wonderful to walk here and come together and pray to God; pray for the victims of Las Vegas and show the community how we are strong together,” said 15-year-old sophomore Casey Popham. “It’s inspiring to get off campus and to do other activities outside of school, to talk to and help others.”
Mayor Terry Tornek met the students on the steps of City Hall, the bubbling courtyard fountain mingling with the hum of their quiet conversation, to talk about volunteerism and the city of Pasadena.
“Cities cannot survive without their residents being involved,” Tornek told the kids. He noted how nice it was to see such excited and positive visitors, because not everyone who comes down to City Hall is “quite so happy,” and the kids laughed.
“What sets this city apart is the volunteer work that takes place here,” he said, adding that with 1,100 active nonprofits in Pasadena, the city has more nonprofits per capita than any other city in the world. “You have to have strength in your family and faith and volunteerism,” Tornek concluded.
On their way back to school, some of the students outlined their feet in chalk and left a favorite Bible verse behind on the sidewalk, reflecting on what the Mayor told them.
“It’s amazing that so many people in Pasadena can come together and do such great work,” junior Deven Hollimon said. “I’ve always wanted to work at a social justice nonprofit — it’s great to know there’s a lot of opportunity there.”
The students will form groups to complete two full service days on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21, volunteering at area organizations and nonprofits, including Villa Esperanza, Friends in Deed, Club 21, Door of Hope, Caltrans Highway, Rosebud Academy, Elizabeth House, Harambee Ministries, Ronald McDonald House and Don Benito Fundamental School.