Melican Eighth Grader Participates in State's Community Service Day

Allison Berardi is a Project 351 ambassador this year.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Melican Middle School eighth-grader Allison Berardi. Submitted.
Gov. Deval Patrick and Melican Middle School eighth-grader Allison Berardi. Submitted.
This spring, Allison Berardi will coordinate a clothing drive at Melican Middle School, for Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit group that provides essentials to children ages 0 to 12.

The drive will continue Berardi's work as a Project 351 ambassador, a group of eighth-graders from across Massachusetts chosen to join Gov. Deval Patrick on Jan. 18 for a day of community service honoring Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

Berardi says she was among the students who volunteered at Cradles to Crayons that day.

"We were sorting books that had been donated to the organization into boxes based on the age groups they were for, and we made packs to give to children of different ages and genders," the Melican eighth-grader says.

"We accomplished more together than we would individually, and it felt very rewarding to be helping the community as a team."

Patrick addressed the students before they began volunteering, Berardi says.

"What I'll remember most about Governor Patrick's speech is how he talked about his childhood. He said it wasn't the best area where he grew up and he never originally thought he'd ever hold a position like governor; the first thing he wanted to be was an architect," she says.

"He also spoke of Martin Luther King Jr.'s impact and the difference he made in our society, and how the service we performed that day was in a way carrying on his legacy by giving back to the community. His speech showed us that people from any background can amount to something great and make a difference in their community."

The clothing drive, anticipated for April or May, is the ambassadors' next project, Berardi says.

It's not Berardi's first volunteer project in the community, though.

Last June, she led the painting of a hundreds chart at the Proctor Elementary School. This was her Silver Award project. She is a member of Girl Scout Troop 30484.

"I hope the Proctor students enjoy being able to learn math in a fun and interactive way instead of sitting still in a classroom," Berardi says.


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