6 - March 26, 2010
Salem Community Patriot
Cardboard Community at SHS Raises Awareness
by Jay Hobson
The night air, cold and damp, settles around cardboard shelters fashioned from old and new appliance boxes arranged – some haphazardly, some carefully – on rough and sandy asphalt. The only warmth comes from a fire fueled by broken-up pallets. Figures gather around the fire. Popping, hissing, and producing at once a warm glow and darkly shimmering shadows, its flickering and dancing flame is a draw to several of this gathering, while others sleep, huddled against the night inside their cramped and tilting boxes. The scene described above could be found underneath any bridge or near any abandoned property in any city or town in New Hampshire—but it wasn’t.
Instead of hanging out at the mall or any number of things teens can do on a Friday night, about 40 students at the high school
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Students gather near the fire for warmth and to socialize
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used their parking lot to draw attention to people. People who need shelter against the cold and rain. People with needs of warmth, food, clothing, and shelter. People, not just numbers on a statistician’s sheet, but rather people made of flesh and blood, in some cases whole families, who are dirty, hungry, and shivering, without any place to call home other than a cast-off cardboard box. Alison Vivinetto, an 18-year-old senior at the high school, has a heart for these people. Last year, with administration permission and some dedicated
teachers as chaperones, Vivinetto, then a junior, organized a group of fellow students and set up a cardboard box “community” on the school’s parking lot.
“My father is an airline pilot and he saw a similar box community set up at a college in a city he was flying into, and I thought we could try it here,” Vivinetto said. Try she did, and together with her fellow students, they raised $6,000 last year, which was donated to New Horizons—a soup kitchen, food pantry, and homeless shelter in Manchester. This year, Vivinetto organized a similar event with the aid of junior Anisha Kalyani, 16, and hopes that what she started will continue after her graduation. “I’d like to see this as an annual event,”
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Vivinetto said. Kalyani agrees.
Anisha Kalyani, 16, and Alison Vivinetto, 18, organizers of the event, stand near the fire pit for warmth
“That’s one of the reasons I got involved. This should be an annual event,” Kalyani said. Along with students, the chaperones were gathered around the fire, wearing coats and scarves to protect themselves from the early spring chill.
Mike Courtois, a biology teacher with 29 years at the high
school, fills in some of the details of participation. “The kids had to submit permission slips from their parents and provide a $50 dollar donation to take part,” Courtois said. Not all of the students who signed up showed up. “We had about 80 signatures, but about 40 actually showed
up,” Vivinetto said. “That could be because of the $50; a lot of kids mean well, but $50 is a lot of money for a student,” Courtois said. The participants in this cadre of compassion return to their fire and boxes and put into an action of sacrifice an effort to keep less-fortunate people warm.
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101 School St., Salem, NH 603-893-9191 www.Centerpointsalem.org
Rockingham Christian Church (RCC) recently celebrated the official Grand Reopening of its newly remodeled facility, a
newly designed Website, and the unveiling of a new logo and brand identity for RCC—a design that represents and promotes creativity, diversity, and plurality, yet signifies a unity in Christ. Multicolored brushstrokes of varied hues are laid together to create a highly vivid field that does not simulate a rainbow, but does show a riot of color. It tweaks its nose at the idea of normal, and further demonstrates that creativity is a major vehicle for
Lead pastor Tom Gertz cuts the ribbon to open the newly renovated worship center at Rockingham Christian Church with the church’s new logo in the background
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learning and growth. This is an all-out celebration of plurality, diversity, and the unity that comes by simply being a part of a whole. The idea of it is not entirely serious and therefore shows that RCC is a fun and playful place to be. The cross, being both prominent and subtle, suggests that RCC is a community of believers who seek to “meet people where they are and help them follow Jesus” by keeping Jesus Christ where he belongs, interwoven into the fabric of our being while also at the forefront of every decision made. We carry Him with us. He carries us. While
“Rockingham” is clearly bigger
and bolder because, as an identifier, it shows whom we seek to serve, it is also implied that the Rockingham community needs to “rest” on the foundation of the “Christian Church” for support and guidance. While diversity, creativity, and plurality have
great value, the symbolism and goal of this design are loving relationships. Many, but One. Different, but the same. This is a place where anyone is welcome and where everyone belongs. We are united in Christ by our love for Him and for each other.
Next Step Renovation
The completion of the “NextStep” facilities
renovation project that began this past fall has provided the needed space for the growth RCC is experiencing. Thanks to the many gifts of time, talent, and treasure, we have made more room for more people to experience more of God in this place. A partial list of the improvements include: • The Worship Center’s capacity increased 70 percent, from a max of about 140 chairs to about 240 chairs.
• An enlarged worship platform and tech booth. • One children’s room was added and two others were enlarged, enabling more age-appropriate ministry, especially for elementary-age children.
• An ability to consolidate our Sunday schedule from three to two services and still leaving us room to grow in both services.
After many weeks of working with a branding expert, RCC is pleased to unveil the resulting new RCC Logo and Brand Identity description with a unified look that represents the essence of who we are, and incorporates our vision, mission, values, and message.
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