In the early spring days of March and April, classes of Volunteer Project Leaders (VPL) at Decker and Mendez Middle Schools – 30 middle school students making a difference in their community – directed staff, administrators and founding members of the UWATX Young Leaders Society (YLS) in their first campus clean-up projects.
The Decker VPL students, using the skills they’d obtained through their VPL training, instructed us through a detailed gardening project to beautify their campus: we raked old flowerbeds, planted fresh seeds and mulched the school garden. Volunteers worked tirelessly on that sunny day and there was never a dull moment as one of our esteemed young leaders, Mr. Juan Wah, hummed and sang his rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe.
The project ended with a student-facilitated recap – allowing us the opportunity to discuss everyone’s favorite part of the day.
The VPL class at Mendez Middle School achieved their big milestone just a few days later: organizing and participating in their own campus clean-up project. The VPL class, along with volunteers from YLS, covered a ton of ground as we trekked across campus in search of unwanted, miscellaneous trash.
- a “Will you go out with me?” note
- a car floor mat
- a mouse pad
- a smoke alarm
- several carpet squares
- a dismembered sock monkey.
The dismembered sock monkey took the grand prize.
In a short period of time the VPL class made an impact on their campus while sparking intrigue in other students wandering by. Both groups of VPL students did an amazing job of coordinating the projects; they serve as prime examples of what any leader should be: motivated, confident and encouraging. All around, it was a tremendous effort on the part of the youth and adult leaders.
If you’re passionate about education, philanthropy and volunteerism, consider joining the Young Leaders Society (YLS).