Jayden Thomas: From Student to Teacher

Jake Birkhead '23 and Tommy McGinn '23

Community service is a very important part of our high school. There are many organizations that are built around service including NHS, Community Service Club, and Key Club among others.

What about the other schools in Westborough? Are there opportunities for younger kids to give back?

Senior Jayden Thomas is making sure they do. He is the head of the Service Learning Initiative. This organization was originally a part of Project 351, but six years ago it branched off to become its own independent organization. Connor Schoen, WHS ’17 alum, was the original founder. Jayden says that Connor was a mentor figure to him, and “he was the person that fundamentally impacted me to actually get into service.”

Now Jayden is in Connor’s position. He goes down once a week to each of the elementary schools to “to empower kids in the community through service”, so they can do something impactful each and every day.

His process begins with small icebreaker activities. Then, he will begin teaching kids about the benefits of service and how much it can impact other people. The initiative has developed a 12 lesson curriculum to teach them. However, it isn’t just a an experience where the students sit and learn. The program really makes sure that kids get hands-on experience in helping out with service projects.

For instance, in the upcoming food drives, their role will be helping create posters and announcements. This will not only help them get experience in service, but it will also make a difference in the community because it will lead to more donations. This prepares them for the ultimate goal of the organization: making kids independent in their service.

The lessons throughout the year prepare them for more and more independence, until they are ready at the end to participate in service projects on their own. With this comes opportunities to create a better community and to help those in need in Westborough.

For instance, another goal of the SLI is to have over 400 bags donated in the spring clothing drive. Hopefully, this project can boost Westborough to have more donations in spring clothing, but also more enthusiasm and success in all kinds of service projects.

Therefore, the Westborough community is truly grateful for people like Jayden Thomas.