Forest Hills Park's Third Upper Creek got some TLC from Citizen Schools students and their families during Durham's Creek Week a couple of weeks ago. The annual event is organized by Keep Durham Beautiful and provides residents with an opportunity to celebrate and protect local waterways. At the time, Citizen Schools students were learning how to become leaders in their community through service during C3 (College to Career Connections), an element of the Citizen Schools program which focuses on connecting college- and career-readiness lessons to real-world applications. Seven families participated in the volunteer opportunity, which was coordinated by Citizen Schools Teaching Fellow Christine Vance as a family engagement opportunity. During the clean-up, staff, students and families were given large trash bags, gloves and claws to use to pick up trash, and event organizers awarded prizes for unique pieces of trash collected by participants.
In addition to keeping the community clean, staff members, students and parents all had time to connect on a deeper level. This was the first time for some students and families engaging in community service. At the end of the day, each student walked away with an authentic understanding of the importance of community service as they prepare for high school and college. One 8th grade student even asked for a recommendation from the staff to add the experience to his resume for the future.
Now, that's a connection worth making through community service!