MacKenzie Campbell is a senior at the Academy of Holy Names.
MacKenzie Campbell is a senior at the Academy of Holy Names.

Seniors at Academy of the Holy Names are tasked with completing a 20-hour service project with a local organization as a requirement for graduation.  For my service project, I chose to continue a new Holy Names tradition, the “Cabaret for the Kids,” a musical benefitting St. Catherine’s Center for Children. 

St. Catherine’s Center for Children is a local human services organization in Albany. The mission of the Center is to provide services that offer hope, foster growth and improve the lives of families and children that are in troubling situations, ranging from abuse and homelessness to mental illnesses.   
For the past three years, students at the Academy of the Holy Names have organized the Cabaret — and for the past two years — I have participated in it myself. I knew that I had a great responsibility to continue this service project this year. Beyond fulfilling a requirement, I recognized the opportunity I had to impact many with the work I would be doing.  

Planning for the Cabaret started right after my proposal had been approved. I created lists of potential sponsors, donors, performers and songs to make the event successful. Early in November, I organized a donation-based yoga class fundraiser, raising over $600 in two hours. I held rehearsals with the cast of local students, who generously donated their time and talents to benefit St. Catherine’s. Program advertisements and donations rolled in, and we were able to raise over $5,000 for St. Catherine’s.  

However, doing a service project isn’t about how much money you raise or how many people show up. Yes, if you can raise a good amount of money, that’s great! Being in service to others is much more than that.  My focus was to create an environment that was comfortable and exciting for the children of St. Catherine’s. These children often come from bad home situations and have lost everything that is familiar to them. Creating special experiences reminds them that they are special, they are valued, and they can achieve whatever they put their minds to. I also wanted to use my event to inform others on the important work that St. Catherine’s does and to normalize the stigma surrounding foster care.  

We are busy people, and it is easy to get caught in a routine and take life for granted. I encourage you to open your hearts up to those who don’t have the same advantages as we are blessed with. Even the smallest act of kindness can make someone’s day or change someone’s life.

MacKenzie Campbell is a senior at the Academy of Holy Names.