Pacemakers make a difference

Members of the Peacemakers service organization with sponsor Rose D’Alessio as they prepare to serve dinner to cancer patients at Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham. (Contributed)

Members of the Peacemakers service organization with sponsor Rose D’Alessio as they prepare to serve dinner to cancer patients at Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham. (Contributed)

By Michelle Adams / Community Columnist

For 10 years, the Peacemakers organization at Montevallo High School has been making a difference in the community. From volunteering at Art Walk, Art in the Park and other community events to fundraising for Shelby Emergency Assistance and Lee Griffin Hope Lodge, Peacemakers work to serve others.

“We are an outreach group purposefully serving and helping the community,” sponsor Rose D’Alessio said. “Students involved in Peacemakers may not be the highest academic achievers, but they are happy to serve in any way needed, and I see these students as future movers and shakers in the community. They are servants for the disenfranchised and poor, with hearts for service, whether they remain in Montevallo or move elsewhere, they will continue to serve.”

One of Peacemakers’ most memorable service projects is providing a dinner to the patients and caregivers residing at Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham. Hope Lodge provides free housing to cancer patients and their caregivers during their course of treatment.

“Being a part of Peacemakers and serving in projects around the community inspires me to do something bigger than myself for the rest of my life,” three-year member senior Ariana Falkner said. “Visiting cancer patients at Hope Lodge has opened my eyes to how short life is and how we need to touch lives around us while we can.”

In addition to serving dinner, students also offer entertainment as well as eat and engage in conversation with patients.

“Peacemakers has given me a chance to do what I enjoy,” four-year member senior Jasmine Hudson said. “I like helping people, and visiting Hope Lodge lets me provide friendship to someone who may be missing family and going through a tough time.”

In addition to serving at community events and fundraising, Peacemakers’ service in the school often consists of sending out inspirational messages of peace and justice, and promoting Peace Day in the fall.

“Each year, our best outreach experience tends to be visiting Hope Lodge,” D’Alessio said. “Patients are astounded that students will take time to visit and entertain. More than our students though, we have consistently received support from Montevallo businesses, especially Piggly Wiggly and Lucky’s who have always been very generous toward our service work.”