What have you done for your community lately? If confronted with this question most of us would probably reply with an awkward “Umm”. But that would not be the case for this year’s freshmen English and Public History Majors. In fact they would be able to respond with two separate charitable events! This year, for Mustang Make a Difference Day, the English and Public History freshmen, with the guidance of English Professor Aaron Chandler, are hosting a book drive and they are sending positive notes to local seniors at Owings Mills High School.

When asked what inspired her to pursue this project, freshman Jasmaine Parker said “I started to think about how after I visited Stevenson, I received a postcard from my tour guide, that not only thanked me for coming, but she told me about her experience so far, and that she hoped mine will be equally as great.” Having this kind of experience through the school was comforting for her during that stressful time and made Stevenson feel more like home. Knowing what it is like to recently be a thinly stretched senior pushed Parker and her peers to want to reach out to these students. What they chose to do is send them notes with “advice, tips, and encouraging words.”

Along with the notes these students are also hosting a book drive. They are accepting all types of books for any age group and the books will be donated to the Maryland Book Drive. Parker informed me that “Hannah Bagley offered to make the boxes for both locations and we had the boxes at our booth on Mustang Make a Difference Day. To spread the word about the book drive, Jason Mihalik made a great flyer, the English department sent out an informing e-mail, and the rest of us told our R.A.’s in order to inform our floors, and whoever we came across by on campus.” The drop off locations for the book drive are at Rockland on the Owings Mills campus and the Greenzone on the Owings Mills North campus. The drive is running from October 5thtill November 4th.

When I asked Parker why her and her classmates wanted to do these projects she responded “We wanted to do something that was meaningful.” And that is really what these projects boil down to. Our students are collecting books that will be donated to those in need. Which would have been wonderful all by itself. But they have also found a way to actively reach out to the youth in their community in an attempt to help ease their stress and transition into the next big journey of their lives. I believe that Parker’s last words to me about these events really hits home the kind of community and values we share here at Stevenson. And they should serve as an inspiration to all of us to participate in community service. “To be able to give back and do something positive such as this is an amazing thing, and I hope that my fellow mustangs and I continue to be positive forces in our community.”