Students add service to their schedulesDec 04, 2022 11:35AM ● By Jet Burnham
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Lily Reutze, an eighth grader at Kelsey Peak Middle School, wraps white yarn around a square of cardboard. After tying a few knots and making a few cuts, she has made a fluffy snowball. One down, 300 to go.
The snowballs were being made for an indoor snowball fight kit to be donated to Kauri Sue Hamilton School. It was just one of the projects she and her peers participated in at Jordan Virtual Learning Academy’s Day of Service. The hours students spent making hundreds of snowballs, coloring 40 food boxes for the Food Bank, tying 12 quilts for Primary Children’s Hospital and crafting over 200 cards for care center residents count toward the goal of 1,500 hours of service hours performed by JVLA students during November and December.
All three schools that are a part of JVLA—Rocky Peak Elementary, Kelsey Peak Middle and King’s Peak High—participate in the service hour drive. Last year, students performed a total of 1,203 hours of service.
To meet this year’s higher goal, a Day of Service was held Nov. 11 to kick-off the service season. Students and their families were invited to participate in four service projects at two locations. Lily and her mother Lisa, who works as an aid at Rocky Peak Elementary, helped with every project.
“It's good to help out your community and to help other people,” said Lily.
JVLA provides community service opportunities throughout the year—students and staff collected 536 pairs of socks for The Road Home in October.
“Service helps kids look outside themselves and takes them away from their own problems,” KPHS instructional coach Ami Anderson said.
KPHS ninth grader Blue Hegstrom said he loves helping others. He often helps out at home. The time he spends providing service for his family can be counted toward the school service hour total.
Sophomore Haedyn Cleveland said, as a virtual student, it was great to get out of the house and meet with her peers at the Day of Service activity. She said she appreciates that her school values community service and provides opportunities to get involved.
“It's important to help people and the school wants to set us on the path so we know how to start helping people and then we can continue to do that when we’re adults and in different environments,” Haedyn said.
Hawthorn Academy charter school holds a Day of Service for its students each year on the day before Winter Break. Instead of having a holiday party, students work as a class on projects such as making blankets to donate to hospitals, making toys to donate to the Humane Society, and wrapping boxes of cereal to donate to students in need at nearby schools.
Hawthorn Academy students will also be collecting toys for Utah Youth Village and food for Utah Food Bank, a tradition in its 14 year. Each year, the goal increases, based on the year. This year, their goal is to collect 222 toys by Dec. 14 and 2,022 food items by Dec. 21.
Through Dec. 16, West Hills Middle School students will be collecting blankets, clothes, shoes and glasses to benefit four charities: Volunteers of America, Christmas Me, 20/20 Vision Quest and Unwanted shoes. Principal Cynthia VanderMeiden said there will be a friendly competition among the students to encourage a successful charity drive.
Mountain Heights Academy, an online charter school, will also provide service opportunities for their students during the month of December. Students will help fill holiday stockings to send to military members overseas and to veterans in the hospital. School leadership groups will also organize students to serve meals at a local food pantry.
West Jordan Middle School will be holding a food drive and collecting money for charity. All proceeds from their Dec. 16 Winter Dance will go toward their charity fundraiser.
Joel P. Jensen Middle, Copper Hills High and West Jordan High also have charity and service events planned during December.