Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP) students have been hard at work this spring, volunteering with local public school students and senior citizens and helping meet important community needs.

The Taylor Elementary School in Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood is a popular volunteer site for Milton volunteers in an ordinary year. However, the challenges posed by COVID-19 have created an even bigger need for classroom help, CEPP Director and faculty member Andrea Geyling-Moore said.

“We’ve had additional requests for volunteers for the guided reading program at the Taylor School,” she said. “It’s called ‘Book Nook,’ and it was actually developed before COVID for the elementary students to read with a mentor side-by-side, but it works pretty well on Zoom. We have more than 50 volunteers working with the Taylor School.”

In addition to coordinating service opportunities, Geyling-Moore is offering a senior seminar for graduating Class I students focused on social justice and community engagement. The program involves some reading and reflection as well as hands-on work with local organizations.  

Several student volunteer commitments will continue through the end of the school year.

Milton students are working at Mattapan’s Urban Farming Institute (UFI), where they help with planting and maintenance to support the UFI’s mission of providing healthy, fresh food for Boston’s underserved communities. 

Boarding students have worked together on making virtual visits with seniors through Hebrew Senior Life, and also participated in the Town of Milton’s annual “Green Up” day cleaning up trash and winter debris in nearby neighborhoods.

Volunteers are also working toward a June 19 Special Olympics event for athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities by training and encouraging the competitors. It will be a smaller tournament than Milton is accustomed to hosting, but the athletes are “very excited” it will be held this year, Geyling-Moore said. Although the event is happening after the end of the school year, some local Milton students will have opportunities to volunteer during the day.