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A Royal St. George’s College Parent’s Day of Service Experience
By Clare Samworth (Mother of Andrew, Class of 2023)
I didn’t expect to discover even more reasons to love RSGC, but after spending the Day of Service with a group of Senior School boys, I had another pocket full of them.
I was assigned Dr. Evans’ advisor group at The Good Shepherd, a place for the city’s homeless to get a hot meal, clean clothes and a safe bed for the night. Like the boys, I wore my RSGC sweatshirt but unlike the boys, I felt a little anxious about the responsibility of representing the school. For them, this is second nature. They do it without even realizing it.
Our destination was the Clothing Room, basement repository for all those bags of used clothing that we set out at our doorsteps. There must have been 100 bags in that room, all jammed up like they were shot in there with a cannon. Our job? Open, sort, size, hang. Yes, parents… HANG. The perfect job for a bunch of teenage boys!
And yet, they got right down to it. No complaints, just questions. Occasionally there was some intense group discussion over an item, mostly fashion-related as in the case of a quite splendid pair of plaid pants which naturally got matched up with a Christmas sweater that only a grandmother could love. Toward the end of the day, a lacy bra got some considerable attention.
And so we toiled on. Bag after bag after bag. And yet the racks never seemed to fill up despite the seemingly endless supply of clothing. That’s because over at the service window, it was pretty busy. Business as usual, meaning that somewhere between 200 and 300 men passed by, each taking away an item of clothing that until recently may have been at the back of your closet, crammed – washed or not – in a bag, dumped in the Clothing Room and hung up by your son.
The guys were great. When set free for lunch, they headed to Subway as a group and were back before me. During our tour, we learned that currently one of the groups of people receiving help at The Good Shepherd is veterans. Not the ones with grey hair and medals, but the young ones in their 30s, messed up and adrift in a system they can’t navigate on their own. Young guys like our sons.
After the tour, when the boys could go home, they chose to stay. There was still work to be done. Two of them suited up in aprons and hairnets to wrap sandwiches for the evening crowd. The rest headed back down to the Clothing Room. By the time we were finished, there was not a bag left, not a shirt on the ground, not a sock out of place. The staff was ecstatic and told us that the boys had done in a day what would have taken their volunteers a month to do.
I told them that these boys are Georgians.
I came home that night and gave my son a big hug for a lot of reasons. Today at RSGC, he is known and loved, a work in progress, a Knight in training. Tomorrow at RSGC, I hope he will forge the same quiet leadership, shared commitment and bonds of brotherhood that I witnessed in the basement of The Good Shepherd.