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Tuesday, September 25 News

Volunteer ‘SLOBS’ see new leadership

NEW CANAAN — For Reid Dahill, Jackson Oehmler and CJ Welch, it all started freshman year.

“I’ve been involved with SLOBs since my freshman year,” Welch, vice president of philanthropy, said of the Service League of Boys at New Canaan High School. “I really got into it through South School Buddies. I was tutoring first-graders and there was one who had just moved into town and only spoke in Spanish — that’s when I realized I really liked helping out.”

Four years later, the three 17-year-olds and now high school seniors are at the helm of the organization.

Dahill and Oehmler, SLOB co-presidents, also got their start their freshman year, following in the footsteps of their older brothers.

“I helped in the freshman class project and that kind of opened up my eyes about how much I enjoyed community service,” Oehmler said.

Tricia Oehmler, Jackson’s mother, said SLOBs coordinates volunteer schedules with about 35 other organizations throughout Fairfield County.

“So many more volunteer organizations have developed relationships with us in the past year,” the elder Oehmler said. “There are many more things that students can join to ge their hours in and also other events.”

According to the organization’s homepage, SLOBs was founded in 2004 and partakes in over 70 different projects in the region.

Dahill, also accompanied by his mother, Barbara, said the board was focused and prepared to take up new challenges, like outreach and social media presence.

“I feel that the main challenge was getting everyone to put in their hours and photographing the events,” Reid Dahill said. “I’d like to work on that this year and get our name out there more.”

A goal for the new leaders of SLOBs is to raise the numbers of students involved from 200 to 250, something they recognize is ambitious.

In his new role as vice president of philanthropy, Welch is looking for ways to make the organization more streamlined and effective.

“I’m making sure the liaisons know what they need to do. My sophomore year, I saw how South School Buddies was confusing for others, and so this year, I want to help other kids know how to run it more efficiently.”

For Jackson Oehmler, it’s about making SLOBs even more recognizable for younger classes.

“It’s really important to organize things and that the kids care about what they’re doing,” Jackson said. “Going into this year, we want to make sure this is something students want to do and to make the meetings more interesting.”

Though parents can also help streamline certain things, SLOBs is essentially run by the students.

“There is something for everybody,” Barbara Dahill said. “If you want to be inside or outside, if you want to help younger or older people. ... I think that’s what makes this organization so special.”

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humberto.juarez@hearstmediact.com

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