BROOKLYN, Ohio — Cleaning up the community in a big way is exactly what happened late last month in Brooklyn.
“We used to work with different community cleanups before,” Brooklyn High School principal Brian Hare said. “One of our graduation requirements is 20 hours of community service. However, due to COVID, I’ve had a lot of students say they’re struggling to find access to do community service.
“After brainstorming with my assistant managers, we came up with some ideas. Then we worked with (City Council members) Meg Ryan Shockey and Andy Celcherts who run Keep Brooklyn Beautiful, as well as the Laurel Garden Club to find places we could go and where the kids could help.
On May 31, Brooklyn High School’s Community Service Day found 190 students in grades 8 through 11 volunteering across the city. In addition, 40 teachers helped facilitate the work.
Locations included the Senior Center, Historical Society, Brooklyn Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Veterans Memorial Park, Brooklyn Pointe, Brooklyn Acres, and various Brooklyn City School buildings.
The children also cleaned up Tiedeman Road, from Biddulph Road south to Brookpark Road.
“The students did a great job cleaning up, pulling weeds and leaves, laying mulch and doing all the yard work,” Hare said. “At other locations like the library, they helped organize the basement and held a focus group.
“At (senior living center) Brooklyn Pointe, they wrote thank you cards to veterans. At Memorial Playground, they painted a fence and did other work to make it more enjoyable for the community. At the historical society, they cleaned up a gazebo and then just helped clean up the grounds.”
What made Hare proud was not that all participants needed the five community hours. There were only a few students looking to volunteer in their community, which is a district goal.
“It’s good for our kids to get out and have a positive impact,” Hare said. “Education is a lot about what you learn in the classroom, but we also want to teach them positive traits, good morals and high character. This is something important to us here at the school and in the district.
That’s why, in the future, Hare said Brooklyn High School could make community cleanups an annual affair.
“It’s our goal to continue to do that every year,” Hare said. “It was cool for kids and adults to come out together to make an impact. We talked about doing this a few times a year. There are different ways to expand it and still make an impact.
“I hope a side note to what we’ve done is that we have great kids and a great community. The impact of our kids in the community is positive for everyone. It also teaches our kids that serving and helping is an important part of life and has many benefits.”
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