It is a challenge at times to teach kids to be respectful of their elders, as well as to have a good work ethic, to be kind and considerate, as well as giving them a proper education. But these don’t all need to be separate; a program at a school in Iowa shows that. High school students at the Alternative Learning Center in Dubuque, Iowa, spent the last two weeks of the school year getting their hands dirty, according to Tim Hitzler, the social studies teacher who started the program. They’ve signed up to help the elderly and those with disabilities with garden work, cutting down bamboo, and even tending to chicken coops.
It is a way for the kids to be shown that they are part of a larger community, a community which has a need of healthy volunteers, which has members who can use strong hands. Hitzler says the program has become a community-building project, with community members inviting the students over for dinner and cookouts. It might not always begin with the most zeal – “The students aren’t typically too excited at the beginning, but once they get involved and start doing the yard work, they become more motivated,”Hitzler added. “They really like giving back to people and meeting the person.” He also adds “Once kids do it once, they wanna do it again. It’s good for them to learn real-life skills. They work hard, it’s not easy. They’re sweating when they’re done.” Hitzler even mentioned that students have come back to help after graduating.
Yard work is also only one of the activities available to students. The school’s curriculum allows students to choose from several activities during the last two weeks of school that will count toward their PE credit, Mike Cyze, a spokesperson for the Dubuque Community School District, says. Hitzler oversaw the yard work program, but other students have cleaned up golf courses and a river barge, Cyze says.
You can read all about this program and the involvement in your Good News Story of the Day.
Story and Image from PEOPLE.