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1-6-20 — Community Service a Way of Life for Students

Jan. 6, 2020 ~ The season of giving extends throughout the year for students in the Olathe Public Schools, but it is especially busy during the holidays. Students from kindergarten through high school donated their time and energy to help others. These are a few examples of community service project completed by Olathe students.

Noah’s Bandage Project was the beneficiary of an activity spearheaded by early childhood and kindergarten students at Bentwood Elementary School. With the help of fifth-graders, the younger students hung posters throughout the school asking for donations. In all, the student body collected more than 225 boxes of bandages. Second-graders hosted a sock drive and collected 442 pairs of new socks for the Kansas City Veterans Administration Medical Center.

The Student Lighthouse Team at Brougham Elementary School sponsored a Pennies for Shoes drive. They created posters, made announcements and gave out incentives for each day of collections. The goal was to raise $1,500 in a boys vs girls competition.

California Trail Middle School’s third annual CT Serves Day allowed students and staff to work side-by-side doing projects in the community. This included sorting donations at food pantries and thrift stores, baking dog treats for animal shelters, playing bingo with senior citizens and picking up trash in area parks. “Our hope is that this day of service will have an impact on students and staff since the entire building serves our neighbors at the same time,” Principal Mike Wiley said. “The intention of the day is for all of the CT community to be outwardly focused.”

More than 750 Chisholm Trail Middle School students went into the community in October to volunteer on various projects. Freedom Farm and TurnStyles Thrift were among the locations hosting student volunteers this year.

The Gracious Gators and Student Council of Green Springs Elementary teamed up with Team Jaiden Foundation to stuff stockings for children at KidsTLC and wrap presents for area families.

Students in Jeff Swift and Mindy Waldron’s freshman advisory classes at Olathe North High School put together more than 50 Shoe Box Gifts for Mission Southside so that parents in need could choose a gift for their children. Each box contained an age-appropriate “wow” item, personal care item, school supply, piece of clothing or accessory, craft/activity/toy, and personal note.

The Raven Service Club at Olathe Northwest High School organized several projects this year including baking more than 700 “copecakes” (cupcakes) to promote mental health strategies, participating in a trunk or treat activity, painting pumpkins for an auction to benefit Sunflower House child advocacy center, and volunteering at the Jared Coones’ Pumpkin Run.

Students in Pleasant Ridge Elementary School’s Service Club volunteered their time at the Grace Church’s SOAR program, an organization that provides nights out for parents of children with special needs. Fifth-graders collected plastic shopping bags for the Bed of Bags organization to make beds for homeless people, and one student learned on his own time how to weave the bags into bedding mats.

Members of the Ravenwood Elementary Tiger Service Club rang bells for Salvation Army at an area HyVee store. “We signed up for several sessions on one day,” Principal Jami Veatch said. “It was a way for our Tiger Service Club to get out in the community to serve!”

Regency Place Elementary’s PTO organized a school-wide community service project to stuff 500 backpacks full of food for children in Olathe or Gardner.

Eighth-graders in the AIM program at Santa Fe Trail Middle School adopted senior adults at Homestead Assisted Living and held a holiday mixer, complete with professional deejay, refreshments and gifts. Students raised enough money to purchase a blanket and fuzzy socks for each of their senior friends. One student told an elder, “Think of this blanket as a hug from me whenever you need one.” AIM students visit Homestead monthly and drop off cards or treats every other week. Students in Kelly Ulmer’s and Olive Palu’s homeroom classes made Sunshine Boxes for staff or students going through a particularly difficult time, such as a family member’s death. Filled with items in yellow packaging (Funyuns, Peanut M&Ms, Lemon Lime Gatorade, etc.), the boxes also have a special tag written by a student.