When the bell to dismiss students rang at the elementary schools at 11:00 a.m. and at the middle and high schools at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25th, most students loaded their bus or were picked up by their parent to head home. This was not the case for students participating in the 2012 Iredell's Global Youth Service Day. Students from four elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school gave up their time from the early release day to give back.
Students in the Youth Exploring Success (Y.E.S.) program at Celeste Henkel Elementary School were excited to clean up several classrooms, plant flowers at the school sign and pick up trash around the entire campus.
Lindsay Martin, site coordinator of the Y.E.S. program explained, "We are a program that needs a lot from the community and school. The teachers and others at the school have been so generous. It is so great to have our kids be able to give back to those that were so generous to us."
Students as young as kindergarten took place in the day of service.
"When you start off participating in service this young and having fun like the kids had today, they begin to realize how important it is to serve and they realize how you give and take as a community," stated Martin.
Members from the Environmentalist Club at Statesville High School worked hard with rakes and shovels cleaning out weeds and planting a combination of wild flowers behind the Statesville Housing Authority Family Development Center. These students feel it is important to give back.
"It's important to help the community and the environment. Lots of people do things for us, so it's time to help them and give back," explained Natalia Zapata, a senior and co-president of the Environmentalist Club at Statesville High School.
Junior classmate Zoey Mitchell added, "This is a half day so we could have easily chosen to not participate and sit at home, but we wanted to make a difference."
This is the fourth year that Iredell County has participated in the Global Youth Service Day. It was originally started in the spring of 2009. Global Youth Service Day is promoted by the Corporation for National Service and Youth Service of America. The day is designed to work collaboratively with community partners in order for participants to have the opportunity to give back to their community.
Dr. Bricca Sweet, director of the Statesville Housing Authority Family Development Division stated, "It's important for all ages to see that youth can be part of the solution to community issues as oppose to the problem."
All participants in Iredell's Global Youth Service Day gathered together at Statesville High School after they completed their projects to enjoy dinner and to share the different experiences from the day.
For more information on Global Youth Service Day, visit their website at www.gysd.org