Above and beyond

| 25 Apr 2012 | 02:16

For two Kittatinny graduates, best friends, volunteering is a way of life By Heather Ann Schaefer NEWTON — It’s close to the end of the school year, and high school seniors are making the most of the time they have left to spend with friends. For Kittatinny students Jackie Cali and Katie Schoen, that means taking action together on a volunteer project to benefit children. Schoen and Cali are sponsoring a book drive at Kittatinny Regional High School (KRHS). All of the donated books will be sent to organizations that help children who are not fortunate enough to have books of their own. “I was happy when they came to me with their idea,” said Assistant Principal and Supervisor of Instruction Ryan MacNaughton. “Katie and Jackie represent the best in Kittatinny and their initiative exemplifies the values we work to instill in all of our students.” The two best friends found the book drive idea through www.dosomething.org, an organization that encourages teens to make an impact on social causes they care about. “We were looking for financial help for college,” said Cali, “and with the book drive we can give to others who need similar help – financial and educational.” Through the organization, teens have a chance to win scholarship money based on the volunteer work they choose to pursue. The drive, a KRHS-only event, runs through May 14. Donations of children’s and young-adult books have already been collected, including popular and classic series like The Hardy Boys and Goosebumps. “It feels good to do something good for others,” said Schoen. Both she and Cali have participated in a variety of other volunteer activities. Both are members of Interact – a community service organization sponsored by the Rotary Club. Most recently, KRHS Interact members learned about service through a roadside cleanup and a meal program for senior citizens. In work with other organizations, Schoen helped to run a walk for Multiple Sclerosis in Roxbury, and Cali annually assists her mother with a Costco benefit for the Children’s Miracle Network. Cali also spends volunteer time with people who have Alzheimer’s disease. The experience has helped her to learn about herself and about gratitude. “It’s important to appreciate what you have, because you may not always have it,” she said. Both agreed that appreciating the time spent and work done together as friends is meaningful to them. “We work well together,” said Schoen. “It’s fun to get things done with friends.” Starting college this fall, Cali expects to major in biotechnology and Schoen plans to become a physicians’ assistant.