As senior Aubrey Geiser grabbed armfuls of broken branches and fallen leaves to help clean up the yard behind an elderly man’s house, she was happy and full of pride.
Sure, it was a cold Friday morning, but she didn’t mind.
She wasn’t stuck in class. Instead, she was having fun with her friends and giving back to her community on Dalton Senior High School Service Day.
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Community service is a growing trend at countless Ohio schools, including Ashland, Holmes, and Wayne counties. While community members and organizations benefit from the additional help, students also gain unique learning experiences beyond the classroom.
Community service opportunities at local schools
There are many ways for area students to get involved in extracurricular activities outside of regular sports or arts programs.
Several school districts, including East of Holmes, Orville and Triway, have the National Honor Society or other service-related groups requiring students to volunteer for several hours during the school year.
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Crete High school students can get involved in a mentorship program, known as Cubs to Cougars, which aims to help elementary school students, high school principal Andrew Ditlevson said. The school also has a green team that leads a monthly school and community recycling initiative.
Black River and Dalton Local hold Community Service Days in the spring where seniors go to area churches, community spaces and even some homes to do some cleaning and yard work. Central Christian School is holding a similar service day in the fall that involves teachers and administrators, acting chief administrator Terry Shue said.
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Links made and lessons learned beyond the classroom
When it comes to considering the benefits of these services, students and staff say the community is not the group that gets anything out of the experience.
Geiser said that during her day of service, she was able to connect with classmates she doesn’t see very often and was able to learn more about a member of her community that she never had. meet.
“We spent probably about 15 or 20 minutes just talking to him and listening to him, which was super cool and so much fun,” Geiser said.
Dalton Superintendent James Saxer said he has seen his students not only grow closer to each other and their community through service work, but also gain a better perspective on life.
“This opportunity to be able to give back and put in their minds that as they begin their launch in their life, life just isn’t all about yourself,” Saxer said. “It’s truly more meaningful when you’re involved in meaningful and helpful activities that help others.”
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