More than 115 volunteers donated more than 496 hours of work during the recent Crawford County United Way Days of Caring.
The event was an enormous success again this year,organizers say. Several projects were started and/or completed.
"A painting crew painted the upper half of the junior high, and that is one of the first things our students noticed when they arrived," reported Hutsonville Superintendent Julie Kraemer. "The grade school building had a fresh new look to it. Students were excited, which helps build pride in their school."
Kraemer said they hire additional help for custodians, but they work all summer just to do general repairs, get each room cleaned, and make sure all the floors are stripped/waxed. In order to do the painting project, they would have to either forgo a building or two of summer cleaning or outsource which would be very cost prohibitive.
The volunteers also worked on our nature trail. "Again, the custodians have their hands full with the summer maintenance projects and cleaning so it's hard to get out to the nature trail," Kraemer said. "We had a volunteer work out there all day getting the vines off the path, pruning the brush back, and sweeping off the path. She was fantastic and has it ready for our students!"
Hutsonville also had a few of the welders come and look over their welders and welding ports in order to see if they were good to go. "Again, it may seem small, but if you have someone from the outside come in and do the same, you are paying a significant amount of money that can now be used in the new Ag programs budget instead," Kraemer said.
Hutsonville also worked on some maintenance issues with the grade school building such as getting the water off the sidewalks between the buildings and away from the foundation. To do this, they had to remove some sidewalks. Mike Knecht and Matt Draper, along with their volunteers through CC United Way, worked two days to frame up the sidewalks and pour them back in place.
'We have had some substantial rainfall, and I'm proud to report the students are walking on dry sidewalks. Again, the amount of money saved that can now be used towards bigger classroom budgets, teachers, etc. is substantial and makes an enormous impact," said Kraemer.
Every year Crawford County United Way saves the school district money with their labor of love in volunteering. They have projects completed that would still be ignored if it were not for CC United Way. The Day of Caring allowed Hutsonville to complete the replacing of side-walk, after the extensive completed drainage work, paint the SESE , and paint the upper half of the grade school building.
In Palestine cleaning and painting were greatly appreciated.
"Words can't begin to express how thankful we were to be included in the United Way Day of Caring," said Palestine High School Dean of Students, Tangi Waldrop. "Staff cuts have made it increasingly difficult for us to complete summer maintenance projects and ready the school for student attendance. The UWCC Day of Caring Volunteers make this possible. It was simply amazing. I would also like to commend them for cooperation and respect they extended to our custodial staff."
At Palestine High School volunteers removed the full length dividing doors from the stage area, cut into pieces and hauled to a dumpster, the north steps and main entrance areas were power washed, weeds were pulled and mulch placed throughout the campus, foyers and entrances were also painted.
"Sharing one's time, skill and talent is one of the most generous things a person can give! We occasionally receive monetary donations. We occasionally receive donations of food and clothing, but only on this day do we receive a united giving of time and effort," Waldrop said. "The value of that is immeasurable!"
At the Palestine Grade School a rock bed was created, mulch was placed, traffic lines were painted in the parking lot as was the fire lane, weeds were pulled around the front entrance and playground area and White Boards hung in classrooms.
For the Robinson School District the volunteers assisted with enhancing a play area for the preschoolers. The program had purchased a new piece of play equipment and the volunteers helped spread mulch around the playground.
Weeds were pulled, mulch applied to the playground equipment in the childcare area, and bushes and tree limbs were trimmed.
At Lincoln Grade School, the side of the building got power washed, mulch put down, a general clean up of playground area. Lines were also repainted and a map of the United States was painted on the playground.
"These are the types of projects that our regular maintenance crews typically must put low on the priority list because of the many other items that must be accomplished during the summer when students and staff are not present," said Robinson Unit 2 Superintendent Josh Quick. "However, they are important in keeping our grounds safe, clean, and visually appealing. The assistance of United Way volunteers allows these tasks to be completed quickly and efficiently - making the buildings more pleasant for our students and the community while saving the district time and money. We greatly appreciate the "Days of Caring" program!"
The Oblong School District had their football field bleachers and railing painted as well as the parking fence. The OHS weigh room got a new coat of paint and a good bit of landscape work was completed.
A good bit of painting, sealing and staining various buildings around the Oil Field was done. A several pieces of equipment was painted at the Hutsonville Park.
The Crawford County Forest Preserve received some needed help on several projects which included electrical work, painting, carpentry and general landscaping.