Respite Day: Annual Day of Service

All students at Wauwatosa West High School have off Monday, January 16th for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but many are still coming to school anyway. Why? For Respite Day. Respite day is a service day when parents drop off their special-needs kids at West and members of Key Club, along with other volunteers, look after them. This gives parents a well-deserved break and the kids a day of singing, dancing, movies, games and more.

When West Side Stories interviewed Key Club members about Key Club overall, every student said that Respite Day was their favorite volunteer activity. Key Club Advisor Barb Lauenstein says this may be because “[Respite Day] makes kids realize what they have.” She also says it “makes [students] aware of kids with disabilities.”

School Resource Officer Doug Braun commented on how happy the parents are with the volunteers, saying, “Several people often make comments about how amazing our kids are.”

Both Lauenstein and Braun spoke of the reason for it all—why students give up a whole day of rest to help people. Braun said it is all “to help people less fortunate than we are.” Lauenstein then added, “If [our volunteers] can just give a parent a rest for six hours, that’s a good thing.”