Saturday, April 20, 2024

Two Walsingham Academy Seniors Create Community Service Organization

Alex Black and Bryce McHose, two seniors at Walsingham Academy, created Service Square. (Service Square)

WILLIAMSBURG — Frustrated by the lack of volunteerism efforts by their peers, Walsingham Academy seniors Alex Black and Bryce McHose set their sights on creating a website where charities and nonprofit organizations could connect with those seeking volunteer experiences.

McHose, who founded the Williamsburg Area Thirst Project, and Black created Service Square, a network of people and charities. The site compiles information, and connects volunteers, causes, and charitable organizations through technology at no cost to any charity or volunteer user.

“We started really getting frustrated with people saying ‘I want to help’ and then not being consistent. We decided to create Service Square as a way to branch out and hopefully meet and interact with other people that have the same initiative and passion for serving,” Black said.

On the charity and organization side, groups can post events, tasks, and other needs. The charities and organizations will also receive a fully built custom page on the Service Square site where key information, external links, and contact information can be found.

For volunteers, Service Square has launched a “Service Ping” option. Volunteers can sign up for a free text service that allows users to join a specific service area. When opportunities from charities are posted, users will receive a text message alerting them of a new volunteer slot.

The site launched in early January and is now in need of organizations and volunteers to sign up.

“We really want to educate others on charities and causes that they might not know about. Our goal at the current moment is to get as many charities as we possibly can involved. A lot of the charities want to see that we have users and volunteers on the platform that will help them, but it’s hard to get the users until we have the charities,” McHose explained.

McHose and Black are no strangers to volunteering. In addition to the Williamsburg Area Thirst Project, McHose volunteers at local car washes and at his school. Black is the president of the Mercy Ministries club at Walsingham Academy, is an active volunteer with a local animal shelter, and spends time at local nursing homes to enrich the residents’ lives.

The pair knows what it means to give their time.

“Bryce and I have a passion for what we do. I believe that when people are given the correct resources and pushed a little bit to have a greater initiative, they truly will find the same joy that we have found in helping others,” Black said.

After graduating from Walsingham this spring, McHose will be attending William & Mary as a data science and business major. Black is awaiting word on her application to the United States Coast Guard Academy, but also has an acceptance from the Virginia Military Institute. The two plan to continue growing Service Square throughout their college experience and hope to expand beyond the Williamsburg area.

“As we hopefully are getting some of these charities and volunteers interested, once we get to a point where we’re more known about, we’re hoping to have people in other cities running their own Service Squares using our processes,” McHose said.

Black and McHose are willing to discuss the Service Square opportunity with any charity or organization interested in joining their site. Emails can be sent to alex@servicesquare.org for more information.

To visit the Service Square website, click here.

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