A winterizing program where students help seniors is in its 23rd year, putting high school students to work helping with raking, gutter cleaning and other tasks that residents who have no family nearby or means of assistance can no longer do.
More than 140 students from Greenwood Community High School divided into 15 teams, and ventured around the city to winterize about 25 homes. Each team worked at two or three different homes.
The program was founded by former teacher Sue Gehlert as a community service effort to help those who could not do the work themselves without a struggle. The work includes leaf raking, installation of storm doors and windows, gutter cleaning, and window washing.
Mary Alice Schuller is one of the seniors who has benefitted from the student assistance. She and her husband are unable to do yard work due to health problems. When the students arrived the front yard was blanketed with leaves. Within thirty minutes, the front yard was cdleared and the teens had moved on to the gutters in the back.
“It seems like they want to do this. I think they want to be here, and not just because the school is doing it,” Mary Alice Schuller said. “You don’t find very many kids like this anymore. They’re taking free time to help without wondering what’s in it for them. It means the world to us.”
The project started out to be part of a mentoring class that was formerly taught by Gehlert. It is also included now in teacher Laura Stadtfeld’s Service Learning Course.