Each year the Dexter Community School district brings in a group of very special youngsters: participants in the Community Service & Leadership program.
This year’s class of students across multiple grade levels at Mill Creek Middle School numbered 174 valuable volunteers that each worked hard to make the Dexter community a better place. Their service was recognized by the Board of Education at their second May meeting.
The time this year’s group put in volunteering in community service is impressive: The seventh graders contributed 877.75 hours and the eighth graders contributed 1941.5 hours for a total of 2819.25. That’s more than seventy full-time work weeks devoted of serving others.
CS&L is a program at Mill Creek that lasts the entire duration of the two years that a student spends there before going on to Dexter High School. Each student participates in a variety of community service opportunities to various local groups, organizations, and service clubs.
Teacher and CS&L instructor, Valerie Berryman notes, “We are so fortunate to have a wonderful community – of course our students who do all the work, parents who do all the supporting in helping get them to their service, and our teachers who are very helpful and supportive.”
Recognition for their efforts takes place at the end of the school year at which time students receive pins and certificates for number of hours they contributed. This year’s top honorees received 200-hour awards for their time volunteering over the past two years.
This year there were 60 requests for help from community organizations including the Lions’ Club, the Knights of Columbus, the elementary schools, Community Ed., the City of Dexter and others. Here is a sampling of the things CS&L did to help their community:
— Collected winter clothing and donated it to Faith in Action.
— Organized and carried out a food drive that donated over 3,000 items to Faith in Action.
— Raised money for Alpha House
— Collected over 170 items in their eyeglass drive.
— Raised $7,791.21 for pediatric rehab at Beaumont and Mont hospitals. (Over the twelve years of the CS&L program they have raised $72,278.69)
— Raised $3,142.15 for Adopt-a- Family educational project.
— Raised $500.13 for Feed My Starving Children.
— Cooked breakfast for Dexter’s Fire Department.
— Dressed up as book characters and read stories to students at Cornerstone Elementary.
— Showed appreciation to their fellow students by recognizing their birthdays.
— Helped with in-house recycling at Mill Creek.
— Planned Spirit Week and pep assembly.
— Washed desks.
— Made announcements more interesting.
— Organized three school dances.
— Were involved with Staff Appreciation Week.
Berryman sums up the purpose and value of the program saying, “Just as we want life-long learners we want life-long community service members – kids to grow up and continue serving their community in their volunteer efforts to make a better community. These kids are on their way.”
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