Newly Formed Service Club Tackles Social Issues


Jack Marchesani

Co-founders of Malvern Prep’s newest service club, Tyler Barr ‘15 and Andrew Gosselin ‘15 have enlisted a team of young men to go above and beyond the service requirement.

Service Club Members at the first outing
Service Club Members at the first outing

On Friday, May 2, 6 juniors, 1 sophomore, and Social Justice teacher, Mr. Haynie, set out towards St. Agnes Parish in West Chester with an arsenal of baby wipes. They spent the afternoon scrubbing down the classroom for the Pre-K students as well as the facility for struggling families.

St. Agnes was only one of the first stops along the tour of service that the Service Club hopes to carry out. And yet, after only one stop, those involved have already learned much about racism and the struggle of immigrants to find steady work when they first come to the states.

Imagine coming to the United States at around 8 years old. You go to school. Study and try to learn English the best that you can. Your parents work hard. They try to maintain the best job possible in order to support you, and give you a better life. You graduate from high school doing better than anyone could’ve expected you to in a foreign country. You go to college and meet someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Just like you they came to the States as a child. You marry and have children. Each of you have steady and well paying jobs. On a typical Sunday afternoon you’re sitting out on your porch with your family. The police arrive and take away your spouse. You have two choices. Attempt to raise your children on your own or bring them to a third-world country you barely remember to be with their other parent.

For many Latin-American immigrants in the United States, this is the fate they face. This was the situation described to the newly formed Malvern Prep Service Club by Lisa Bice, the Coordinator of Education Preparation at Blessed Dorothy Day Ministry.  Mrs. Bice, mother of Villa Maria graduate Cailey Bice ‘13, runs this program with the intent of doing “whatever she can for help the people who need it.”

Blessed Dorothy Day Ministry not only aims to help those who have come to the States and need support, but also to bring better lives to the children of these immigrants. The Ministry operates out of St. Agnes Parish in West Chester.  It provides daily care and schooling for Pre-K students who cannot afford preparation for Kindergarten as well as food and shelter for those who don’t have it.

Mrs. Bice explained that most immigrants aren’t here to live off the government.  According to Bice, the vast majority of them have simply come to work hard and attempt to get educated. Although she recognizes the issues that will come with immigration reform, she hopes that soon it will be easier for those who have recently come to the United States to become acclimated and live steady family-oriented lifestyles.

“Jesus wouldn’t split up families,” said Mrs. Bice.

Mrs. Bice explained that cleanliness was crucial, as many whom the Ministry serves do not have access to showers.

The idea began back in the winter when Tyler Barr ‘15 and Andrew Gosselin ‘15 came to the conclusion that they desired to do more service, Despite the multitude of opportunities to give back from the Christian Service Program, Barr and Gosselin were aware that some still desired to do even more. They came to Activities Director Dr. Fry with a goal of getting the group off the ground soon. Through hard work and planning, things worked out. They then moved on to recruiting a start-up group of Malvern sophomores and juniors to help begin carrying out their mission.

Tyler Barr, co-founder, explained that the goal of the group is to “give students an opportunity  to do organized voluntary Christian service in the surrounding area during the Spring because Malvern doesn’t have many service projects during that time.”

“We realized that there’s a lot more poverty and homelessness in our surrounding area than meets the eye,” said Barr. We don’t have to go to Camden or Philly to find families in need, and that there are many illegal immigrants here who want to pay taxes and grow a family in our country just like the rest of us, but legislation doesn’t allow them to do that.”

“It was a privilege for me to go there and experience the living conditions of those less fortunate and work to improve them,” said Harrison Locke ’15, who participated in the Service Club’s first program.

Barr and Gosselin hope to do many more service-oriented activities in the near future and throughout next year. As time passes, and as each service site allows, more availability for participants will open up. Everyone involved hopes to lend a helping hand to the surrounding communities, and learn much more about those less fortunate.

To get involved with the Service Club, contact Tyler or Andrew at [email protected] or [email protected].