Students get out of comfort zone, into the community

Over the last two years, and through a litany of missteps and revelations, I have had the opportunity to work alongside a fantastic teacher, Ms. Erin Henry, to help facilitate and grow the Cane Carry Out at Wilmington High School.

This Carry Out is a community food pantry designed to help fight food insecurity for those families who have students enrolled in the Wilmington City School District. We are supported by the Free Store Foodbank in Cincinnati and receive donations from private individuals, students, teachers, and religious organizations from around our community.

This food pantry has a hidden benefit that families do not get to see as often as they should — the students who help run this organization. Through the Wilmington High School Career Connections course and the Cane Carry Out, students learn skills that will benefit them as students and as future (or current) employees in our community.

Students learn about inventory management, quality control, food safety, and other retail and restaurant skills. These are all wonderful skills for them to possess when the semester is over and prepare them for possible next steps in their future.

However, these skills only make up a fraction of what these students are learning. These students are learning about community building; about collaboration and shared successes; and that there are opportunities for them to make a lasting impact in our community right now.

Students in the Career Connections course start out being uncomfortable and unfamiliar in this space that is set up very much like a grocery store. Even if these students have experience working, they are not used to blending in school and out of school responsibilities and skills.

They are stepping outside of their comfort zone to step into their community and create real change. Be proud of these students and what they are accomplishing in the Cane Carry Out. Be proud that your students are wanting to make lasting change for families who have to make tough choices.

Be proud that this is our community that has raised these students to want to make that difference. They are working hard to make Wilmington better for everyone; let’s work hard to make sure that effort doesn’t go unnoticed.

If you or your organization is interested in contributing to or learning more about the Cane Carry Out, please email [email protected] .

Dillon Oney