Winter put up a good fight, but in the end Spring arrived. Some time around 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, April 28, the rain subsided, the clouds thinned and a community of volunteers got to work on various spring cleaning projects around Ohio City.
The event was Spring Into Action, and this year (despite the chill in the air), a dedicated team of 20 student-leaders made projects at ten sites throughout the neighborhood very successful. These young men attended planning meetings for eight weeks, contacted community partners, conducted site visits, created supplies lists, developed job plans and prepared for leading the 130 volunteers assigned to work at their locations. It was one of the largest Spring Into Action Core Teams in recent memory and one of the most successful.
Juniors Kevin McIntyre and Danny Brennan guided 40 or so volunteers through a clean-up of Monroe Cemetery. Mike Nickerson '18 and Matt Blouch '19 (alongside Labre co-moderator Mr. Ed Nolan and Jesuit Volunteer Chelsea Schwartzman) helped a Labre friend with a much-needed trash pick-up. Marshall Sommer '19 and Nick Bishop '19 worked with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to do a tree stewardship project, caring for young trees around the community. Sophomore Joe Stanfar and junior Colin McAndrew helped the Cleveland Fire Department Station No. 4 by painting flames (at their request) on the bollards outside their garage. Jake Moraca '19 and Alec Stimac '19 led teams on routes where they could paint over graffiti on light poles and power boxes. Liam Nigro '18, Charlie Ellis '19 and Joe O'Brien '19 worked with a local neighbor to do a street clean-up of Japan Court and West 33rd Place. Sophomores Robbie Klanac, Jack Smith and Ryan Walsh worked closely with St. Malachi Church to do mulching, flower-planting and landscaping.
Veteran Core Team members Gavin Hearns '18 and Zach Houde '19 filled more than 35 yard bags with leaves at May Dugan Center with a small team. Lastly, Max Gruber '18 continued his work of landscaping at the Arrupe House, as well as with our neighbors at Trinity Lutheran Church. Gruber also planned and led his third-consecutive Spring Into Action prayer service, which included Scripture readings, inspiring quotes, reflections and a few songs.
All told, Spring Into Action achieved its goals. A great many projects were completed throughout Ohio City, and both student leaders and volunteers were able to form good relationships with neighbors of Saint Ignatius and community partners. The result is the ability for all involved to think more critically when asked the question posed by Jesus: Who is my neighbor?
We'll take the sunshine and warmer weather that arrived fewer than 24 hours later as a sign from God saying, "Well done."