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Service gets sustainable with the Environmental Concerns Organization (ECO)

Editor’s note: During the holiday season, we will be highlighting our students who have served communities and organizations over the past quarter as part of a "Season of Service" series. Today, we share the story of Sarah Mitchell.

Service has been a part of Sarah Mitchell’s life since high school, but it wasn’t until she was chosen to be part of the DePaul’s community service scholar’s program that her outlook on service changed.

“I knew that helping others was a good thing, but through this program, I’ve learned how to think about a community—what are the needs, what are the best ways to connect,” says Sarah. 

Sarah co-coordinates ECO, an organization through the DePaul Community Service Association (DCSA) that works with high school students in the Green Teens program at Gary Comer Youth Center in Englewood. The focus is on encouraging the students to live a healthy, green lifestyle.

“The idea is to be a near-peer mentor. The mentors have recently started college, and the students are about to graduate from high school. We work out together, and we work on garden projects. In the winter, we’re going to focus on green careers and how they can incorporate sustainability in their future jobs,” said Sarah.

Service has made a major impact on Sarah. Not only did her involvement with the community service scholar’s program make it possible for her to attend DePaul, it has also opened other doors and provided her with opportunities to gain career skills. She sees service as a guiding force in her life after graduation.

“I think a lot about teaching, social work, nonprofit work, or maybe policy or corporate giving. I’m personally searching for the best one, and with the community services studies program, I have the opportunity to figure out the best fit for me.”