VALPARAISO | Ben Franklin Middle School eighth-graders recently spent a day of service out in the community creating new connections and giving back.
While it was the first official event, the day built on last year’s version to include the entire eighth-grade class.
“Last year, we had a limited number of kids do some service and it was such a success that we wanted to include the whole class. Ben Franklin has a long history of service to the community so it only made sense to incorporate it into the school day. Mr. (Christopher) Fields, our principal, is a strong advocate for service so we have great support,” said Debbie Cubberley, eighth-grade Language Arts and Speech teacher at Ben Franklin.
The day included two-hour service projects as well as a tour of the Porter County Career Center with speakers from Valparaiso University and Ivy Tech.
Projects included sewing bandanas for Lakeshore Paws, cleaning at the Boys and Girls Club, playing Bingo with seniors at Banta Center, doing yard work and cleaning toys at Family House and organizing Teddy bears for United Way's Hug a Bear program.
Cubberley said the day of service helps pave the way for students to be involved in the community as well as get ready for high school and college.
“We feel that the students need to make service a part of their lives. Students need the opportunity to give back to the community that provides so much for them. Often the time spent in service is so much fun it hardly feels like work,” she said. “We want our students to know that even though they are young teens they have many talents and time that they can contribute to the community.
“We have also been helping eighth-graders prepare for high school and college. One of the many things colleges and employers look for is a community service component.”
Cubberley said putting the day of service together was truly a community effort.
“I would also like to add that Kathy Bonaventura from the United Way was absolutely instrumental in helping me make contacts for these service projects. Also, the community organizations have been so gracious and accommodating. Working together is what makes Valparaiso such an awesome community!”
To see more photos, visit the Valpo community Facebook site at www.facebook.com/valpocommunity.