BOSTON (CBS) — Hundreds of students from across Massachusetts came together Saturday to help people in need at the annual launch day for Project 351, a non-profit that develops the next generation of community-first service leaders.

Gov. Charlie Baker along with First Lady Lauren Baker took part in the event, and New England Patriot’s Captain Devin McCourty helped kick off the day of service at Faneuil Hall.

“Last year I saw some of these kids start their own non-profits,” McCourty said. “It’s been an honor for me to share the room with them.”

Devin McCourty at the Project 351 launch day Saturday.

Many children got the opportunity to share their dreams with other attendees.

“My dream is peace and progress through greater understanding,” one student said.

Then they were off and serving, helping non-profits like Comfort & Hope distribute basic hygiene products to people in need.

“We estimate there are 150,000 kids under 18 alone in Mass. who are experiencing hygiene insecurity, and that’s just scratching the surface,” said Jesse Mattleman of Comfort & Hope.

“I’m learning how much I can really do. The little things can make the biggest differences,” said student Favyna Maitre.

Children at the Project 351 launch day Saturday. (WBZ-TV)

WBZ’s Lisa Hughes was one of this year’s 2020 Service Heroes.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that young people have something to say and they want to be part of the solution,” she said. “All you have to do is give them a vehicle and they will take off.”

Project 351 has been making an impact since 2011. This year’s theme is called “good trouble”- teaching young people how to have a voice, the value of community and how to help solve some of the trouble issues in our community.

“Let’s get into some trouble and disrupt the way things are to make them better. That’s what this is all about!” Lauren Baker said.

 

Paul Burton

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