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County students give day to serve others

April 14, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Wrinkling his nose at the smell, Brian Taylor dipped his brush into a bucket of inky paint and swept it across an old blackboard at Girls Inc. in Hagerstown.

The Washington County Technical High School student was one of about 110 local pupils who pitched in to help better their community on Friday as part of National Youth Service Day.

United Way of Washington County and the county Board of Education organized the second annual event, which gave students an opportunity to earn the Student Service Learning hours they need to graduate while encouraging them to "participate with community service organizations that make a difference in our community," United Way Executive Director James Taylor said.

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Students from South Hagerstown, Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Hancock, the Technical High School and Job Development Center volunteered their time to work at 10 community organizations - including eight United Way member agencies.

They served meals to senior citizens, sorted and stocked items at food pantries, cleaned, painted, landscaped and helped with office work.

"It raises your self-esteem to help others," said Jessica Webb, 17, president of the service club at Boonsboro High School. "There are a lot of people who need our help. We can't be selfish."

On Friday, Jessica joined classmates Kelly-Jo Kibler and Joseph Ellis, both 17, at the Community Action Council in Hagerstown. The students sorted food, shredded paper and put together applications for the agency's crisis intervention programs.

Tina Barse, coordinator of the energy assistance program at CAC, said the students' volunteer efforts gave agency employees more time to work with clients.

"This is wonderful," Barse said. "Our workers really appreciate it."

Parent-Child Center Executive Director Millie Lowman agreed. She said the 11 students helping sort donated clothing, stamping envelopes and making solicitation calls at the Hagerstown-based center Friday freed more time for center workers to help young parents and their children.

"I just want to help out the community," said South Hagerstown High School junior Misty Hebb, 17.

Misty spent the day folding clothes despite the fact she'd already earned most of her community service hours by volunteering with the REACH cold weather shelter.

Boonsboro High School junior Addison Hamilton, 16, also volunteered at the Parent-Child Center even though she's already earned about 200 community service hours through her work with local hospice patients.

"It makes you feel good," Addison said.

At the Mason-Dixon Boy Scout Council in Hagerstown, Clear Spring High senior Lindsey Guessford pushed a wheelbarrow full of mulch to fellow students Mike Snyder, 17, and Alex Tyler, 15, who were waiting with rakes to spread the mulch. Inside, other Clear Spring students replaced a drop ceiling while South High students Ronnie Hines, 16, and Laura Bastille, 15, brushed white paint across ceiling tiles.

"It's work God wants us to do," said Laura, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

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