Throughout the entire school year students everywhere count down the days until the most coveted time of year arrives-SUMMER! However, by this point in the season the novelty of no homework and spending all day at the pool is wearing a little thin and kids all over the city are sighing the same two words, “I’m bored!” The staff and students of The Partnership For Our Kids are vanquishing these sighs of monotony and replacing them with shovels and sacks of service!
In early June, middle school students in the Partnership’s All Our Kids program brightened up the entrance to the Salvation Army North Corp with some sturdy shrubs. “It was great to see the kids working so hard,” says All Our Kids Program Specialist, Ronna Fritz. “They were very proud of their work and never complained once!”
Program Specialist, Christina Penka believes these projects not only make a difference in the community, but also help to give the student participants a feeling of purpose. “Often we hear from the students that they do not feel as if the community values them or provides them with useful roles,” she explains. This summer Penka and a group of sixth grade students are assisting the staff and students at Kellom Elementary in the cultivation of a school-wide garden. Kellom Elementary Principal, Eric Nelson is grateful for the help and hopes that the garden will touch the whole neighborhood. “If the students begin to appreciate the outdoors, hopefully they will discuss this with their families and friends, therefore, bringing about a healthier community,” he says.
Late last month, Partnership middle school students took their service projects one step further by helping Heart Ministries with a mobile pantry. Students assisted in packing more than 300 bags of food that are given away to area families in need. Fritz explains that many of the students who helped with these summer service projects have experienced being on the receiving end of service and were so excited to have the opportunity to give back. “At the end of the day you could see such pride in their eyes,” says Fritz.
Check back for more updates on summer student projects coming soon!