July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Helping on Day of Caring

BRUNSWICK — From washing fire trucks to preparing kittens for adoption, it was a day of helping out for students at Willetts Middle School on Friday.

The second annual Willetts Day of Caring sent about 450 students around the city and Cuyahoga County to do volunteer work at 24 sites, art teacher Kelly Harrison said.

“We talked about volunteering for the world, the community and the school,” Harrison said.

Students applied their lessons in volunteering throughout the year.

For the world, students shipped 90 Support Our Troops boxes to soldiers overseas through the Brunswick VFW. Students collected toiletries, snacks and magazines to support the mission before sending the boxes.

For the school, students held a drive during Spirit Week to raise money for 19 students unable to afford the trip to Washington, D.C., later this month. All will be able to go on the trip thanks to the students chipping in, Harrison said.

For community, the Day of Caring sent 13 busloads of students to parks, elementary schools, the Brunswick Food Pantry, Volunteers of America store, Oaks Family Center, Camp Paradise, the Brunswick VFW, the Achievement Center and Willowood Care Center. In Cuyahoga County, kids cleaned up Camp Cheerful in Cleveland and the Metroparks.

“Some people were a little nervous about having 20 middle-schoolers at the same place, but others were really excited about it,” Harrison said.

Students like eighth-grader Danielle Gilbert went to Crestview Elementary to help teachers for the day by tutoring and hanging up artwork for an upcoming show.

At first, she said, some students thought about skipping the caring event, but they didn’t realize how fun volunteering can be.
“It’s more fun than you would think,” she said.

Vanessa Pasadyn, also in eighth grade, said she wanted to try the Day of Caring again after having a good time last year. She went to Fire Station 2 and washed fire trucks and ambulances and planted flowers.

“I did it last year and it was really fun, so I wanted to try it again this year,” she said.

Eighth-grader Morgan Wilkinson cleaned up Kitten Krazy’s new space at 930 Lafayette Road, Medina, clearing shelves and moving cats and crates for the cat rescue group’s move. Wilkinson said she even signed up to do volunteer work for Kitten Krazy in the future.

“So many places need help,” she said. “One person can make a difference, but more can make a really big difference.”

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.