It’s 5:20 A.M. My alarm goes off for the third time. I ask myself multiple times if I should just go back to sleep and go next week. I eventually motivate myself to crawl out of bed. A group of students go through this routine every Friday. They are a part of a Wellspring, a […]
It’s 5:20 A.M. My alarm goes off for the third time. I ask myself multiple times if I should just go back to sleep and go next week. I eventually motivate myself to crawl out of bed. A group of students go through this routine every Friday. They are a part of a Wellspring, a club that cooks breakfast for the Wellspring women’s shelter in Oak Park every Friday at 6:00 A.M. I personally did not know much about this club besides how early the members have to get to school. I wanted to experience the work that goes into this early morning club, so I agreed to get a firsthand look on what goes on before the 8:00 A.M bell rings.
I arrived at school a little after 6 A.M., dreading getting out of my car. It was way too early to be at school on a Friday. I’d rather spend my extra time sleeping. To my surprise, when I first walked into the kitchen at Bertram Hall, I noticed the students had immediately started cooking. They hadn’t wasted any time, and I was impressed with their dedication so early in the morning.
Co-president Sam Noe (‘18) has been a apart of Wellspring since freshman year and has taken on a leadership role since her sophomore year.
“We cook pancakes and eggs and make sandwich wraps and yogurt parfaits for the Wellspring center, which feeds women and children,” Sam says. She emphasized how this was the only hot meal some of these women get, so they are very grateful for their help.
But what about waking up so early in the morning? It definitely wasn’t easy for me. I couldn’t imagine how they could do that every Friday. To my surprise, they have managed the brutal mornings better than I have.
“Waking up early isn’t that hard. It gets easier the more you do it,” Sam says. “It’s definitely hard to motivate people to wake up early, especially on Club Day”.
Teacher moderator Mr. Evan Boylan agree. “It’s not easy waking up early. Once I’m up it’s easier. When we finish I normally get a really big coffee”.
“It’s nice [waking up early] because I have more time to finish my homework in the morning,” Annabella Rolleri (‘19) added.
“It’s fun to do it with your friends,” Kennedy Earley (‘19) explained. “It’s definitely hard to miss a Friday once you start coming.”
Along with other members of the club, Kennedy said she joined the club because it’s fun and they enjoy making an impact on their community. “The service hours are just a bonus”. The junior added.
Normally, upperclassmen work in the kitchen to cook the pancakes and the eggs, while underclassmen make the sandwiches and yogurt parfaits.Wanting me to get a hands on experience, Sam put me to work by helping scoop yogurt for the yogurt parfaits. I would scoop yogurt and pass it along before Sam would add fruit and granola to top it off. The work gets done a lot faster when everyone is helping.
“It’s a fun routine and since we have all been apart of it for a couple year, everyone gets along really well,” Audrey Solis (’20) explained, “Everyone is always laughing and I’ve made so many new relationships.”
“It doesn’t feel like you’re working, it feels like you’re just having a fun time,” the sophomore added.
And she was right. As early as it was, I really was enjoying being around a group of positive people. There wasn’t a moment when someone wasn’t laughing.
After I finished making the yogurt parfaits, I went to see what the juniors experience in the kitchen. Different students took turns flipping pancakes and holding the large tray stacked with pancakes.
Dr. Bill Illif (’76) is the moderator during the first semester, and Mr. Boylan takes over second semester after football season is over.
The famous football coach’s favorite part about waking up and coming to this club is seeing the students grow as individuals.
“It’s really cool watching the kids, especially Sam”, he said. “Seeing the leadership that she takes on and doing it, she runs it, it’s their club, it’s cool to see them take responsibility and manage the younger people. They do a great job”.
A lot of service activities that happen on the Christian Brothers campus gets delivered to another location, but you don’t necessarily see the direct impact you are making on the community.
“This club really allows you to get active and make a difference. The people we do this for really appreciate it — they write us a nice note after every school year,” Sam says. “It means a lot to the women at that shelter to have breakfast every week.”
Once we finished making all the food, I went with regular member Nick Mederios (‘18) to drop off the freshly made food at the Wellspring center on 4th Ave. We were immediately greeted with welcoming and thankful women who helped us bring the food inside. Seeing the women there help me realize how important it is to give back to the community.
After we dropped off the food and were walking back to the car, a woman stopped us. She thanked us multiple times and told us how much the women love the pancakes. The women waved us goodbye and said they couldn’t wait to see us next week.
After a long morning of hard work, we decided to reward ourselves with delicious donuts from Marie’s Donuts in Land Park. I was pleasantly surprised with how great my experience was. I might even go back next week. If anyone is looking for service opportunities or any excuse to get out of bed in the morning, I highly recommend Wellspring. Not only is it a good start to your day, it allows you to make a direct impact in your community.