Thirty nonprofit organizations in the area, and beyond, benefitted recently from Williamson College of the Trades’ second annual Service Week, a week in which almost the entire school — 250 students and 50 faculty and staff, as well as several trustees, alumni, and Auxiliary members — put into practice in a big way the school’s core value of service.

The students worked entire days from Monday to Thursday in small groups under the supervision of faculty and staff helping the community with a variety of work, including preparing baseball fields for the spring season, constructing mulch trails, painting, gardening, and making public areas look nicer, whatever needed doing, they did.

Among the nonprofits benefiting from Service Week were the Glenolden Historical Commission, Tyler Arboretum, Hedgerow Theatre, Media Theatre, Chester Salvation Army, Frederick Douglas Christian School, Aston’s Lions Club, and several churches, to name only a few.

Other groups went to Camp Manatawny, a Christian summer camp in Berks County; Ronald McDonald House and the Veterans Affairs office in Philadelphia; Middletown High School in Delaware; Rancho Relaxo, an animal shelter in New Jersey; and the Dominican Republic, to spruce up a hospital built largely by Williamson students and alumni over the years.

Also taking place during Service Week was the annual Leadership Trip, in which a group of students and several staff, along with representatives of the Coalition for Christian Outreach, went on a week-long camping and canoeing trip designed to teach leadership skills to students who have demonstrated leadership ability.

And, a number of horticulture and masonry students remained on campus working on several special projects.

President Michael Rounds said, “Our second annual Service Week was a terrific success! To set aside a week for the entire Williamson community to focus on our core value of service is a great way to wrap up the academic year! After our first attempt at this last year, we decided to move service week from March to May – immediately following final exams. The opportunity for students from different classes and shops to work together with the staff and faculty, alumni, board members, and friends on projects with other local nonprofits in the area is a great way for them to see how big an impact they can have and why it is important to give back. Whether the students were in the Dominican Republic with Rev. Specht or here in Middletown Township, I think they all felt a sense of pride in representing Williamson and making a difference at so many of these great organizations – I am very proud of all of them!”

Todd Zachary, senior vice president and chief of staff, said, “Service Week was the capstone of the year for our students. It is designed to reinforce our core value of service and to stress how important it is to give back to your community throughout your life. It was also hoped that this work will help our students develop their self-character while making an impact on the community.”

In addition to helping nonprofits, Service Week helped to strengthen the bond between students, faculty, and staff by having them work side by side, and students formed friendships with fellow students they don’t normally interact with.

Many attempts are made in a student’s three years at Williamson to see the importance of instilling the school’s five core values — Faith, Integrity, Diligence, Excellence, and Service — as part of their everyday lives, and Service Week emphasizes the great feeling of helping others.

View a collection of 2017 Service Week highlights below!

Or view highlights from Service Week directly on Williamson’s social media sites (search using the hashtag #williamsonserves):

Service Week Comments Included:

Media Theatre
Kyle Brylczyk, Production Manager
“It is fantastic that Williamson helps the community. We have much work here that needs to be done, so we will take all the help we can get. Their work is helping us look better.”

Faith Reformed Baptist Church
Michael O’Chuida 1W8, Paint and Coatings Technology
“It’s a good feeling to give back to the community and to use the painting skills we learned at Williamson to help others. These organizations do so much for us, it’s only fitting for us to help them.”

Tyler Arboretum
Shipley Allison, Immediate Past President/Board Member
“We are totally grateful that Williamson comes and help us as much as they do. We appreciate it alot. We couldn’t do all of our work without Williamson’s help. We have 650 acres and not enough employees and volunteers to do it all.”

Isaiah Cohen 1W9, Horticulture
“With the wonderful opportunity to get a free education at Williamson, it is my obligation to help others in the community any chance I get. I love helping other people out.”

Oak Lawn
Susan Mescanti, Middletown Township Historical Society President
“Middletown Township Historical Society had an outstanding group of young men working on Oak Lawn, the house located on the Smedley Tract in Middletown. Williamson’s contribution to this project has enabled the historical society to exceed our expectations for completing this project. With the exception of a few finishing touches, we have met our goal to refurbish and secure the exterior of this significant piece of township history.”

Ian Steveline 1W7, Carpentry
“It feels great to learn new things in carpentry while helping others. I never did restoration work before and it is a whole new experience. As long as I’m doing carpentry, I’m good with it. Anything to learn more.”

Salvation Army
Lillian Priester, Administrative Assistant to the Commanding Officer
“I think it’s wonderful these students come and help us. They are good workers and they have good manners. We are all very impressed with them.”

John Curran, Paint Instructor
“It’s exciting to see the gratefulness of the people we are helping. They appreciate what we are doing to help them and that makes us feel good. The students like using their skills to make an impact on the community.”

Sterling Health Care
Nancy Newman, ADC, Activities Director
“I look forward every year to the arrival of the group of volunteers from Williamson. I am flattered they choose us to be a part of their Service Week. I’m tickled pink to have them here with us and the residents enjoy interacting with them.”

Danny Coleman 1W7 and Jon Collins 1W7, Power Plant
“It’s a very good feeling to interact with the residents. We brighten their day and that is a good feeling. It makes us feel good, too.”

Delaware Valley Christian Church
Pastor Andrew Cox
“We are honored to have a Service Week crew from Williamson come to our church and help us out. Their attitude and work ethic is tremendous. I am very impressed with them and pleased to get this help.”

Frederick Douglas Christian School
Bernadette Morgan, Support Staff
“These students from Williamson are awesome. They are very polite, hard workers and they do whatever you ask them to do. They are like a bunch of sons.”

Dale Plummer, Athletic Director
“Service Week epitomizes what Williamson is all about. We teach our young men to go out and change the world and what better way is there to do this than by serving others?”

Delaware County Technical High School
Tom Carpenter, Head Custodian
“If not for this group from Williamson we would be doing this work ourselves or paying someone to do it. They are saving us time and money while they make our school look nicer.”

George Topalidis 1W8, Power Plant
“A lot of the guys in this group graduated from this high school and it is nice to give back to the place that gave us so much. I received my interest in the trades while attending this school; this is why I went to Williamson.”

Aston Lions Club
Stacy Starr 6W8, Alumni Association Past President
“Working with the students in the community during Service Week is a great experience. Giving back is always a good feeling and it’s nice to get to know some of the students.”

Bob Schufelt, Lions Club President
“The Lions Club is a service organization. Having Williamson help us put together our project for needy organizations is a real plus for us. It’s a great combination.”

Upper Chichester Township
Ray Drulik 1W8, Machine Tool Technology
“I like working at this site because I graduated from Chichester High School. I feel like I’m giving back to my community. We’ve been doing things we’re not used to and it’s great to learn things from other trades.”

Shayne Burke 1W9, Machine Tool Technology
“I’m a resident of this area so I am glad to be helping my community. I feel like the work we are doing is a reflection of what we learn at Williamson so I want to do a good job and represent the school in a good way. I’m also known around here and I want the people I know to have a good opinion of me. They appreciate the hard work we are doing here.”

Glenolden Historical Commission
Donna Rothe, Business Office Assistant
“Service Week is the best thing to come along since sliced bread. Having Williamson students come and help the community is a wonderful thing. Without them, we couldn’t have done this much work.”

Christ United Methodist Church
Art Lallo 7W9, Board of Trustees Vice Chairman
“During Service Week I feel proud to be associated with Williamson. It’s a great feeling to see students working in the community. It’s great to hear the compliments from the people we help and to see the kids eager to help.”

Newlin Grist Mill
Joe Vaites, Drafting Instructor
“I was very impressed with the work of the students. We had a hard job and they did a great job completing it. The Newlin staff was very impressed with the amount of work we did. They said it would have taken them weeks to do that much work.”

Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House
Lori-Anne Miller, Assistant Director of Volunteers
“It was great to have Williamson College at the House again this month! Thank you for all the wonderful food your students provided to support our families. We look forward to having your team at the House again next year.”

Service Week 2017 Social Hub