James River High School juniors and seniors had the opportunity to participate in a Day of Service on Thursday, May 18, when students worked at Breckinridge Elementary, Buchanan Elementary, Eagle Rock Elementary, the Botetourt Food Pantry, New Freedom Farm, and Solomon’s Mission.
A 2022-2023 goal of the JRHS Student Senate was to bring back the full Community Service Day. Student Senate leaders worked with Elizabeth Foster, JRHS teacher and one of our Student Senate facilitators, to plan and implement the JRHS Day of Service opportunity for juniors and seniors to give back to the community. Foster worked with a committee of Senate members – seniors Emily Ballard, Emma Francis, Sam Worsley, and Norah Jones; junior Ethan Spickard, and freshmen Kierra Crawford and Gavin Binns. Students met weekly before school to plan. Foster shared her excitement to work with this hardworking and motivated group of students and stated that the quality and quantity of projects would not have been possible without the student leaders’ contributions to their planning process.
Each location had small projects or missions to complete as follows:
Students and staff members who volunteered at Breckinridge Elementary helped to clean up around the front of the school and in the courtyard by trimming tree branches, weeding, removing stumps, and cleaning up trash and debris to help prepare for the fifth grade graduation celebration. This group was also able to interact with elementary students during their Field Day.
Students and staff members who volunteered at Buchanan Elementary were able to build and stain four new picnic tables for a new outdoor eating area for Buchanan students as well as for the community to enjoy and use. Students cleared out several bushes and trees and laid fabric and mulch to make room for the new picnic tables. Inside, students helped prepare for the fifth grade graduation by working on a balloon arch.
Eagle Rock Elementary
Students and staff volunteering at Eagle Rock Elementary worked on various beatification projects around the campus. Students worked on weeding several areas around the school. In addition, they worked together to clean up several outdoor areas around the school.
New Freedom Farm
Students and staff members were able to serve at New Freedom Farm by sweeping, cleaning out cobwebs, and moving hay bales in the horse barn. Students also assisted with pasture clean-up by cleaning manure from pastures. The founder of New Freedom Farm as well as the volunteers worked alongside students.
The group that went to Solomon’s Mission not only spent time serving but also learning. Director Teresa Rothwell spent time talking with the students and explaining many of the ways in which Solomon’s Mission serves the local (and extended) community. Students, many of which have either worked with Solomon’s Mission before or attended events as a guest, were told of ways they could continue to serve at Solomon’s Mission’s various outreaches, events, and services. Students were given a tour of the facility and store and then set to work. Many students spent the day sorting and organizing the many donations that had been received. Another group of students worked on painting a wooden fence outside for what has become a lovely outdoor space for entertainment, activities, and even simply as a porch space to gather. Rothwell shared that they are always looking for volunteers for various tasks and would love to have teens and families reach out to serve.
The Botetourt Food Pantry
Volunteers at this location were able to assist with weeding the main entrance and adding fresh mulch to the entry of the food pantry as well as organizing and stocking shelves. The Botetourt Food Pantry serves approximately 40 families on Saturday mornings, and this group was able to assist in the process of preparing the items for Saturday morning pickup.
~ Fincastle Herald staff report