High school’s Giraffe Club helps neighbors in need
By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Tue., Nov. 13, 2012
You won’t find Elizabeth Misunas and her friends jumping in the leaves this autumn. These girls, about 10 of them, were helping out a neighbor to rake and bag up leaves during their day off on Veterans Day.
The yard that Misunas and other members of the Giraffe Club from Suffield High School were cleaning up on Nov. 12 belonged to a wheelchair-bound Suffield resident who wasn’t even able to come to the door to greet them. But even without that face-to-face greeting, what the girls were doing will never be forgotten by that resident, or the others who benefit from the Giraffe Club’s efforts.
“Basically it’s called the Giraffe Club because we’re sticking our necks out,” said Misunas. “We’re just trying to make things better.”
“The Giraffe Club has been around at Suffield High School for many years,” said Noreen Harnett, the club’s faculty advisor. “Through the club, students can do a variety of community services throughout Suffield.”
Members try to make an impact in several different ways, not just cleaning up people’s yards. “In addition to leaf-raking, they serve at Spalding school reading to first-graders, McAlister school’s homework club, Suffield House and Suffield Emergency Aid,” said Harnett. “The group also sponsors a family at the holidays and provides gift and food baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
“It just feels good to help people that can’t do this work,” said Kiersten Ayou, who was picking up leaves and putting them in a black garbage bag. She and her raking partner had cleared the homeowner’s front yard and had their eyes set on cleaning up her wheelchair ramp and walkway.
“Raking leaves is a team thing,” said Misunas. “Last year I even did some of the storm clean-up,” she added “The word gets around pretty well.”
“The students really enjoy going out to work in the community, and we offer a variety of activities so there is something for everyone,” said Harnett. “We have many senior citizens in town who look forward to having the students’ help in the fall and throughout the year.”