NEWTON, NJ - Every Monday night throughout the 2014-2015 school year, a rather extraordinary experience has been unfolding in a small office in Newton. A group of approximately18 high school students from high schools in Sussex County meet every week and bond with each other, discuss prevalent community issues and organized a major service project that took place recently.

This group of teens committed to serving their community is called Service Corps, managed by the leaders of the Pass it Along non-profit community service organization that works throughout Sussex County.

Every week meetings commence with an ice-breaker in which members are faced with a task and have to get to know other members as well as work cooperatively with them to finish the task. The meeting then proceeds into the goLead program, in which the teen members lead discussions about community issues such as drug usage, domestic violence, unfair educational opportunities, stressful school environments, and much more. Members also discuss ways to help victims of some of these issues.

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Service Corps members embark upon this incredible experience every week, calling the small office a “safe haven” because of the incredibly kind, caring, and compassionate teenagers that fill the room every week. Not only do the members meet many lifelong and inspiring friends, but they also volunteered with the elderly in their final major volunteer project of the year- a “Senior Prom” for the senior citizens at Bristol Glen.

Carsen Terry, who is a Service Corps member and a junior at Sparta High School, said, “Service Corps has impacted my life tremendously. I have met some incredible people and my love for serving the community has grown.”

Service Corps member Connor Dick SHS sophomore, said, “Service Corps has inspired me to be the difference in every little thing that I do. It has been a foundation for building passion and purpose as well as confidence and character in my life.”

This group also engages in many conversations about how to create one’s own future, how to let go of people and situations that are not healthy and how to speak publicly. Despite Service Corps coming to a close with the end of the school year approaching, these teens will continue the many friendships they made, continue to volunteer, and carry their newfound excitement for the future with them.

Most importantly, this group of compassionate teenagers have learned that it is the duty of all people not only to serve others, but to work together as humans to create a truly successful and harmonious world.