by Molly Jennings
Whether it’s helping out with homework, playing games or making arts and crafts, the Westfield-Plainfield Connection really knows how to put a smile on the faces of the students of Stillman Elementary School in Plainfield. WPC is a club at WHS, which visits the Stillman Elementary School every Monday with snacks, tutoring and fun.
The club, which made its first visit of the school year on Monday, is run by Advisor Ms. Danielle Fletcher and senior Presidents Erin Fitzpatrick, Sarah Leahy and Marykate Boylan. Said Boylan: “After doing WPC for three years, I have found my love for volunteering with younger kids. Knowing that I am helping them in some way makes me feel more complete as a person.”
Last year, WPC started a fundraiser where they collected checks, gift cards, clothes, furniture and anything else that could benefit a Plainfield family who lost their home in a fire. Fletcher, who will be going on her fourth year as advisor, said: “[The fundraiser] was humbling and wonderful and made me so proud of the club. This really is a group that is out to help and they really sprang into action around this horrible event.”
Ms. Yvonne Hernandez-Padilla, a Social worker at Stillman Elementary School, has been working with this club for over 3 years. Hernandez-Padilla said: “When the [elementary school] students know names [of the WHS students] you can tell they have trust. To actually see that they know remember the students are coming every Monday, that says a lot. It shows that they are looking forward and feel a sense of respect.”
Each member in WPC is paired with a Plainfield student in either fourth, fifth or sixth grade. Senior Lauren Anzevino said: “When you walk in every week, the little kids’ faces light up and they get so excited to see you. They’re always so grateful for us being there."
Said Fletcher: “The main purpose of the club is two-fold: we work to help mentor and tutor elementary students in Plainfield, but also we exist to help educate and enrich the lives of the tutors- who sometimes learn more through this experience than the Plainfield students."