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Project 351 Ambassadors “the Epitome of Kind and Thoughtful”

For the sixth year in a row, Miscoe Hill has chosen two students to represent their school as Ambassadors for Project 351, a statewide volunteer effort involving eighth-grade students from across the Commonwealth.

This year, eighth-graders Ashley Porter from Upton and Joe Mendes from Mendon were chosen as Ambassadors for Miscoe based on their based on their values of "kindness, compassion, humility, and gratitude."

The goal of Project 351 is for students to build skills and confidence, explore issues, embrace leadership, and motivate a lifetime of service. The two local students were nominated by their teachers and Miscoe Principal Ann Meyer to join over 350 other Ambassadors in cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. Those chosen will continue to be Project 351 Ambassadors for one year.

Project 351 kicks off their year-long service project with a day of "enrichment, service, and unity with the governor." The kick-off is typically held during Dr. Martin Luther King weekend, which is significant as it is a national holiday that honors Dr. King's legacy of service.

This year was no different as the students boarded an early bus in Worcester on January 17, and traveled to Faneuil Hall in Boston where they began their day listening to motivational speakers including Governor Charlie Baker and WBZ-TV News anchor Lisa Hughes, who spoke about the importance of service towards others.

After spending the morning at Faneuil Hall, the students broke up into groups to begin their day of community service in different locations throughout Boston.

Ashley spent the day at the Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter in Boston. There she worked with other 8th grade students assembling self-care kits and making cards for the homeless.

Joe spent the day with IBA, a non-profit organization in the South End of Boston that offers affordable housing and supportive programming for those in need. There, he assembled food essential packs for the elderly and painted mural canvases for homes being built by IBA.

"It was great knowing that we were actually making a difference by helping people," said Joe.

Although the day in Boston has ended, the students have brought the ideals of kindness and service towards others back home, and have already begun to coordinate a clothing drive to benefit Cradles to Crayons in Boston, a non-profit organization that provides homeless and low-income children.

Ashley and Joe will be collecting new or gently used clothing and shoes for underprivileged kids aged 0-12 from March 12 through April 1. Collection boxes will be located at Miscoe, and all donations will brought to Cradles to Crayons after April 1.

Overall, the students said that the Project 351 experience has been "amazing," and both used one word to describe their favorite part. "Everything!"

That answer was not a surprise to Meyer, who said that the two chosen had extremely positive personalities.

"Both students are the epitome of nice, kind, and thoughtful," she said.


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