Taylorsville teens serve their community with 25 service projects during last week of school
Jul 22, 2019 03:25PM
● By Jet Burnham
Blowing bubbles was part of the fun at field day at Hartvigsen School. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Children playing at Taylorsville City Park or Mill Race Park are enjoying a cleaner park this summer thanks to teens from Eisenhower Junior High School. Students spent the day before the last day of school serving the community.
“They’re doing things that just sometimes get overlooked, like cleaning the gutters and picking up little pieces of trash throughout the park,” said Terry Molloy, of Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, who oversaw the group of 35 teens working at Taylorsville City Park at 4700 South Redwood Road. Students also weeded around the playground equipment and cleared the sidewalks.
Molloy said it was good to see the teens learning to take care of their community park, and she hoped they would feel good about picking up after themselves and realize that someone else will have to if they don’t.
“It’s OK to bend over and pick something up that’s already there on the ground,” she said.
Ryan Tommer, music teacher at Eisenhower, worked alongside the students at the park. He was grateful that the weather was good and that the students worked hard.
“Overall, it's been very positive, and I think the kids have enjoyed it,” he said.
The park cleanup project was one of 25 service projects organized for the school’s second annual Day of Service in which 1,150 teachers and students participated.
Students were bused off-campus to volunteer at Golden Living Senior Center, the Jordan River Parkway, Mill Race Park, Salt Lake Community College and Gardner Village. A majority of the projects focused on the area around the school. Students walked various routes through the neighborhood to pick up trash. At the school, they made items to donate to Catholic Community Services, Gardner Village, the Humane Society and Utah Food Bank.
“Students invested in Eisenhower by cleaning lockers, desks, classrooms, our stage and backstage areas, refurbishing our school garden, and picking up trash outside on our grounds,” said Amanda Johnson, Eisenhower teacher in charge of the event. “We got a lot done.”
Many students signed up to help with end-of-year cleaning and running field day activities at Vista Elementary, Redwood Elementary, Hartvigsen School and at four Head Start preschools.
Because of the 53 students from Eisenhower who walked to Hartvigsen School to staff their Field Day, the entire student body was able to participate in the fun.
“We were able to serve the whole school,” said Rochelle Deeter, adaptive PE teacher. “Usually we have to keep them separate because of numbers.”
She said students from Eisenhower provided more one on one support for her students and the chance for them to interact with their typically developing peers. After playing with a parachute and balls, blowing bubbles, creating chalk art, and chasing each other for a game of Whack a Noodle, the students joined their new friends for a sing-along and dance party.
Eisenhower teacher Fern McLelland said because the junior high students chose the service project they wanted to help with, they were more interactive and involved this year than they were last year when they were assigned to a service project.
Teachers said the service projects were a better way to count down the hours to the end of the school year. Students were out in the community, benefitting from project-based learning, said Tommer.
“We're hoping that they learn a little bit of the value of community service, giving back and working on putting someone else before themselves,” he said.