OutREACH: A Service Tradition is Born


Students preparing wire protectors for newly-planted trees.

Aaron Liu, Campus Reporter

Saturday May 14th 2022 will always be a special one in Kent’s History, as it marks the beginning of the annual OutReach program. Aiming to spread compassion across the Kent community, the OutREACH program provided students and faculty the chance to enjoy a wonderful day of service.

OutREACH is an idea that created by the Alumni Counsel to honor the Global Day of Service. On Saturday, students woke up early, grabbed a J.P Gifford sandwich for their breakfast, and headed out to locations across the campus and the town. Their days varied from there with their chosen activities, whether it is playing Bingo at Morningstar Nursing Home, making meals for the local soup kitchen, or planting trees. “Previously, the school only had a Day of Service for the third-formers,” said Mrs. Sokolnicki, who organized the day. “Now with this option included, we can incorporate more people who’re interested in voluntary work to come in.” 

And indeed, many people — roughly 100, or 20% of the student population — were interested in spending their Saturday on this unique service day. The initiative was also led by many student leaders at REACH, a student lead club that organizes service events. “REACH was an important element to make OutREACH happen. They suggested that we should add planting trees as one of the service options, and also included the Bingo activity with the Morningstar elders.” Said Ms. Sokolnicki. This was not the first time REACH organized an activity, however; they also helped to set up the early year tag sale, and other local services as well.

Although the participation for OutREACH is already high, Ms.Sokolnicki still wanted to include more people into the service. “We initially had 160 signed up for the program, but because of the logistic issues around 60 people dropped out. If we have better timing next year, the attendance should be higher,” said Ms. Sokolnicki. There are also other conflicts with the timing this time as well, such as many sports teams left early for their competitions.

Still, OutREACH has perhaps ignited student’s interests in service, as they discover that helping and engaging with others is actually a meaningful and fun activity. In the coming years, OutREACH has the potential to become the signature activity at Kent.