As the City of Boston celebrates the third annual One Boston Day, Walnut Hill School for the Arts is partnering with the Natick Service Council in a special initiative to support Team NSC runners in the Boston Marathon.
Team NSC runners Paul Joseph, Caroline Goldman, Sophanny McArdle, and Melissa Schmidt are committed to raising significant awareness and funds that directly support the important programs and services of the Natick Service Council, such as Heart Health Food Pantry, Case Management Program, Financial Aid, Career Counseling, and Holiday Programs.
The Natick Service Council is an independent, nonprofit organization that connects, engages, and collaborates with the community to support Natick neighbors who are experiencing hardship or economic uncertainty by promoting self-sufficiency.
The students, faculty, and staff on the Hill have developed a Patriots' Day tradition that focuses on strengthening community and giving back, both at the School and in Natick and the MetroWest region. These activities include holding a special Patriots' Day Assembly, advancing short-term and long-term service projects, sponsoring Team NSC runners, and hosting a community run/walk around campus.
Alexis Liston, Walnut Hill's Director of Community Programs, says: "We have been celebrating Patriots' Day for many years by participating in various community service projects. This year, it was our hope to be more involved in a project that directly influenced the Natick community. When the Patriots' Day Planning Committee learned that the Natick Service Council had four runners, it seemed like an obvious opportunity for us to work with them. Many of our students come from all around the country and the world and do not necessarily know someone who is running. Now our students will have someone they can cheer for as the Marathon runners pass through Natick."
This year, Walnut Hill students raised funds for Team NSC runners through creative initiatives, including holding a "penny war" between the classes, selling singing valentines in February, having a Dunkin' Donuts sale, and presenting a benefit performance hosted by the freshman class and showcasing the many talents of the student body.
The runners visited class meetings at Walnut Hill in February to share their passion, and when runner Caroline Goldman could not make the junior class meeting due to an emergency retina surgery, the class sang "Sweet Caroline"—as befitting an arts school—to send their encouragement and bolster her spirits.
Lauren Mann, Director of Development and Outreach at the Natick Service Council, writes: "We are so appreciative of the amazing support and encouragement our runners have been receiving from the Walnut Hill staff and students. This has been a wonderful partnership and Natick Service Council is grateful to have generous and socially minded organizations like Walnut Hill in our community."
Walnut Hill students and Natick Service Council members will be along the route on Marathon Monday, cheering on the runners. We hope you will join us in supporting our local Boston Marathon runners, as well as supporting the Natick Service Council in all that they do for the community.