More than 800 students from the St. Edmond Catholic Schools will work to make a difference in the community Tuesday.
Students, faculty and staff will join 16 different organizations to complete various cleanup and beautification projects throughout the community.
An estimated 250 high school students will be transported to sites to volunteer. Another 300 kindergarten through fifth-grade, and 250 sixth- through eighth-grade students will complete projects in school.
The overall effort is funded by a $6,000 grant from the Reach Out Iowa Network, a service learning program through 4-H and the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, as well as a 15 percent in-kind donation.
The grant application efforts were led by Mary Salocker, a St. Edmond parent and member of the Spirituality Quality Work Team. Salocker worked with her daughter, a St. Edmond freshman and member of the Douglas Dreamers 4-H Club, to obtain a grant for the backpack project the club works with each year during the annual Back to School Bash, according to Linda Cline, Webster County Extension youth coordinator.
"They had a great experience with a small grant and were able to turn that experience into a huge project," Cline said.
"I actually found the grant on the 4-H website," said Salocker. "It was available for any youth group, including schools, and it worked well with what our school wanted to do."
Service learning projects will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will include activities such as painting fire hydrants around the city, removing invasive tree and plant species at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, and volunteering at the Marian Home and Beacon of Hope.
One special project will be the establishment of a school garden, which will provide fresh vegetables and produce to be used in the school kitchens and also donated to local food pantries.
"We'll have a group planting a garden at the school," said Mary Lynn Biggins, director of marketing and public information for St. Edmond Catholic Schools. "That will include a special Chamber ribbon-cutting."
In school, elementary students will be creating May baskets for the Marian Home, planting plants for the business office and retired priests, cleaning the playground and football field area, decorating grocery bags thanking veterans, and visiting the Villa Care Center.
Seventh- and eighth-grade students will clean the school gymnasiums and the grounds at the Corpus Christi Center.
The effort was also made possible by support from Shoppers Supply, which helped provide supplies, and Ansell Hawkeye, which provided work gloves. The St. Edmond Student Council also donated $200 of a $1,000 scholarship it received as part of the Sportsmanship Award at the Boys State Basketball Tournament.
"It's been a team effort," said Salocker. "The kids were there to help write the grant; they've been involved for several months along with all of our teachers and administrators. They've been a great team."
Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org