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Sem's Social Service Board Leaders Reflect on the Year as Service Week Concludes
Posted 03/13/2012 11:48PM

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy.
You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer,
you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”  

~ Marjorie Moore

Buffalo Seminary’s Social Service Board hosted Service Week from March 5-10, 2012. The initiative complemented the very successful Giving Week from last December, which encouraged donations of food, clothing, books and unwrapped gifts for several local organizations. For each day during Service Week, Sem students donated their time and energy by volunteering for a specific organization or event.

Monday, March 5, at Vive La Casa, an organization that provides food, clothing, shelter and legal assistance to refugees from around the world:
A dozen Sem students brought all the fixings for a spring party – cookies and frosting, a coloring craft and lots of energy.

Tuesday, March 6, at a reception hosted by the YWCA of WNY:
Nine Sem students helped cater the 150-person event, which launched the exhibit, The House That YWCA Built, and honored three architectural preservationists, including Sem alumna Catherine Schweitzer ’71. The event took place at the historic Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in downtown Buffalo.

Wednesday, March 7, at Everywoman Opportunity Center, an agency that helps women achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency:
Twelve Sem students helped fill 400 gift bags for the Handbag Happy Hour, which will be held on March 16.

Thursday, March 8, at Hospice Buffalo, dedicated to the care and support of individuals with a serious or end-of-life illness:
Six Sem students visited the facility to make cupcakes for the Hospice staff's teacart, which is used to bring refreshments to patients and their families.

Friday, March 9, for the Unyts Blood Drive at Sem:
Thirty-one students, faculty members and parents participated in the blood drive as donors and volunteers. Click here to see more photos from the drive, which was sponsored by Sem's Chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Saturday, March 10, at Ronald McDonald House, which provides a home-away-from-home for families of children being treated at Buffalo-area hospitals:
Six students went to Ronald McDonald House to prepare a taco and guacamole dinner for the families staying there.

As the school year winds down, our 2011-2012 Social Service Board Co-Presidents, Madison Paulk '12 and Sarah Shafik '12, offer their reflections on community service at Sem:

“I could not have asked for a better experience this year in heading the board alongside my good friend, Sarah Shafik, and of course, with Mrs. Hopkins as our advisor. We have implemented really good programs, such as Giving Week, which will stick with Sem and the Social Service Board for years to come. With the school year coming to a close, it is almost time to pass on the responsibility of heading the board to a rising senior. Though I feel I have done all that was needed of me and more, it is saddening to say goodbye to a program that meant so much to me over the past four years. In summing up what community service means to me, it can be best described in the quote by Marjorie Moore.”

~ Maddie Paulk ‘12

“It has been a great opportunity to work with Maddie, Mrs. Hopkins and the rest of the board this year. My favorite part of the experience was helping to organize Giving Week. We weren't completely sure how Giving Week would go because we had never done it before, but the Sem community really pulled together to help out so many different organizations. It was amazing to look at all of the donations piled up in the chapel at the end of the week. I hope that Giving Week will continue to be a Sem tradition.”

~ Sarah Shafik ‘12

We thank Maddie and Sarah for their leadership, and Mrs. Hopkins for her patient and steady counsel throughout the year. We also thank the Sem community for demonstrating a strong commitment to our neighbors throughout Buffalo and the world.

Kyle Hopkins, faculty advisor to the Social Service Board, attends the YWCA of WNY's opening reception for "The House That YWCA Built" with Sem volunteers.

Just some of the donations from last December's Giving Week

Buffalo Seminary, or Sem, is located at 205 Bidwell Parkway in the historic Elmwood Village neighborhood of Buffalo, N.Y. Founded in 1851, Sem is Western New York’s only independent high school for girls, and the only all-girls school in the area with a residential program. We offer an independent, nonsectarian, college-preparatory curriculum and are a member of The New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). Sem is also a charter affiliate member of The Online School for Girls (OSG). To learn more, visit

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