IMG_2958There are many traditions at Saint Viator High School, but one that benefits thousands of people across the Northwest suburbs might be little known.

It took place last month when the newest members of the National Honor Society organized their first group service project: an in-school collection drive for Clearbrook, the Arlington Heights-based agency that serves children and adults with disabilities.

IMG_2962In doing so, Saint Viator was one of 10 schools that Clearbrook officials partnered with years ago in expanding the reach of Jelly Belly Days, one of their largest fundraisers. On May 12 and 13, Clearbrook volunteers collected donations at storefronts and intersections throughout the Chicago area, but Saint Viator students held their own drive, in school.

NHS members signed up to volunteer before school and during their lunch periods, over the two-day drive. Wearing Clearbrook’s traditional yellow vests, and handing out the agency’s signature jelly beans, NHS members collected donations from students, faculty and staff members, and parents.

IMG_2954All donations benefit the 8,000 children and adults served by Clearbrook, whose mission is to create opportunities for their clients with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We appreciate all the support and look forward to working with Saint Viator again,” said Hillary Mittelman, special events coordinator for Clearbrook. “The more people who participate, the more opportunities are generated to benefit our programs and services here at Clearbrook.”

Donations are still coming in, but NHS moderators Ms. Annette Bochenek and Mr. Kurt Paprocki expect the total to come in around $500, which far exceeds their goal.

“We were blown away by the generosity of the entire Viator community,” Mr. Paprocki says. “We always hear about how much the Viator community supports our neighbors, and this demonstrates that part of our school’s mission.

“The students deserve all the credit,” Mr. Paprocki added. “They gave up their time outside of their schedules to collect donations for a good cause.”