For Sam Greenberg ’14, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter was the place where he felt truly comfortable.
This was in large part because he had started volunteering at the shelter before he even came to Harvard. Greenberg graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin, the only public high school in Cambridge, in 2010. His first experiences with the homeless shelter run by Harvard students came through Club Four, an extracurricular group that allows Rindge and Latin students to volunteer cooking dinners there. Today, Greenberg works full-time as co-director of Y2Y, a shelter opened just last year for youths struggling with homelessness.
When Greenberg joined Club Four in his sophomore year of high school, the club had just been formed. It got its start when John Chen, a Harvard senior, began working as a student teacher for Barbara Weaver in the high school’s history department. At the time, the high school was divided into four parts — C, R, L, and S — and Chen was working in School Four. He started informally bringing some of his Rindge and Latin students as extra volunteers during his own shifts at the shelter. Over time, these spontaneous trips gained structure as more students expressed interest, and an organization was eventually formed under the name of its original school affiliation: Club Four.
Chen is now working in Washington, D.C., and faculty leadership of the club has passed to Susie Van Blaricum, who used to be Weaver’s intern and now is dean of students for one of the high school’s four learning communities. But in many ways, the club retains its original spirit of informal collaboration.