“I have learned – and continue to learn – the importance of community service, not only to those it directly affects, but also to the greater community,” says Hillary Haspel, a senior at Isidore Newman School. “I feel rewarded after every project I participate in, no matter how big or small,” she says when asked to pick her favorite. “I like the feeling after working seven hours on a KaBoom! playground as much as I enjoy the feeling of donating canned goods to Second Harvest.”
Haspel is active in many organizations at Newman and in New Orleans including: Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund, Breakthrough New Orleans, KaBoom!, Students Against Destructive Decisions and A Club To Inspire Outreach in Newman Students.
“Being involved in your community is a way to give back to those who have a need while simultaneously making
the community as a whole a better place.”
Becoming a well-rounded and down to earth person is one of the benefits of Haspel’s volunteer service. Her family has been involved with Breakthrough New Orleans, formerly known as Summerbridge, since 1990. Breakthrough is an organization that helps prepare middle school and high school students for academically rigorous high
schools and colleges. The program provides free tuition for a summer and school-year program taught by high school and college students.
Though she found teaching Spanish and Literature to incoming freshmen very difficult, the end result is gratifying. Haspel has been a member of the Breakthrough advisory board for two years as the liaison between the board and teachers and first taught in the program during the summer of 2010.
Every city has a call for activists and Haspel says, “New Orleans needs activists and more importantly people of all ages to take an interest in our city’s future. I am happy to be a part of our rebuilding to share that excitement with my friends.”
Besides volunteering, Haspel is the co-captain of the cheerleading and gymnastics teams. She has hobbies in acting and photography and hopes to continue her activism throughout college and beyond. She plans on studying to become a child psychologist.