St. Edmond Catholic School students spent Wednesday learning about volunteerism across Fort Dodge as part of the school’s service learning day.
“Service learning day is an annual project day for all the students at St. Edmond Catholic,” John Howard, St. Edmond High School principal, said. “We go to different sites across Fort Dodge, work with different service organizations. Really, just provide whatever we can provide for those places.”
Students went to Friendship Haven, Loomis Park, LifeWorks, Beacon of Hope men’s shelter and the Fort Museum, among other places.
“I think it’s important for our students and our staff to give back to our community, and it’s a part of our Catholic culture and Catholic expectations to provide services for others,” Howard said.
Paula Florey and Leah Applebee, St. Edmond teachers, brought their high school students to Almost Home Humane Society of North Central Iowa.
“We got to choose as faculty members where we wanted to go, and I just enjoy animals,” Florey said. “That’s why I elected to come here.”
The Humane Society staff had plenty for the St. Edmond students to do.
“Right now, we’re cleaning cat kennels and out in the dog area there’s a bunch of other students helping them in those areas,” Florey said.
Applebee said she advocates volunteerism.
“My students right now are cleaning out the kennels, scooping up poop and scrubbing down everything,” she said. “They’re doing good things.”
St. Edmond teacher Teresa Brown took her students to John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.
“We had this set up two years ago when we first did this project,” Brown said. “Matt Cosgrove (conservation director) and his crew were very willing to come up with some service kind of things we could pitch in and help with. And we know the parks are a big part of our community, so it’s a good way to give back.”
The students split into three groups to paint the park’s more than 80 picnic tables, clear brush along the paths and garbage along the lake, Brown said.
According to Brown, it is good to volunteer in the community.
“We should be doing it every day, in whatever aspect we can,” she said.
St. Edmond Elementary School students participated in the day, as well, by making cards with seed packets for the spring and delivering them to Fort Dodge Villa Care Center and Marian Home.
Howard said his students enjoy the service learning day.
“It’s one of the most popular days for our students,” he said. “Our attendance rate is almost 100 percent for these days.”