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Alexandria students spruce up public buildings, yards during Day of Caring

All the spring cleaning was part of the annual Day of Caring – a partnership between the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties and Discovery Middle School.

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Discovery Middle School students rake mulch away from a sidewalk at the Alexandria Area YMCA on Friday, May 21. This group includes (left to right) Abby Koppman, Kataia Roquette, Logan Ewoldt (in back) and Otto Henrich. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

Discovery Middle students in Alexandria have been on a mission.

Wearing bright blue shirts, more than 350 eighth-grade students fanned across Douglas County, doing good deeds for others by cleaning up lawns, raking, washing windows, tidying up gardens, doing landscaping work and completing painting projects.

All the spring cleaning was part of the annual Day of Caring – a partnership between the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties and Discovery Middle School.

This year, the event was scheduled to take place over two days – Thursday, May 20 and Friday, May 21 – but thunderstorms postponed Thursday's activities and were re-set for Wednesday, May 26. They planned to take on chores at the Douglas County Historical Society, Miltona Elementary School, Smokey Timbers Camp, Mount Carmel Ministries and Nordic Meadows.

On May 21, the students brightened up Trinity Oscar Lake Parish and the YMCA.

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They also completed outdoor service projects at homes throughout the community. For each project, a group of students along with a leader, worked on site for a minimum of two hours.

"This was my first experience with the Discovery Middle School Day of Caring," said Julie Renaud, 7th grade dean of students and guidance counselor. "It was so awesome to see the eighth-grade students dive in to help others in our community."

After a morning of work, students shared that they were proud of what they had accomplished and that it felt good to help others, Renaud added.

"They worked hard but it was worth it to see the smiles on the faces of the people they helped," she said.

United Way organizations across communities all over the state hold a Day of Caring, according to Jen Jabas, executive director of the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties.

"This service learning opportunity offers a great way for students to become involved in their community," Jabas said. "They have all demonstrated kindness, leadership, and communication skills that they will be able to apply to other settings in their lives. It is so wonderful to see the positive impact that this experience has had for both students and community members. I can’t wait for next year!"

For more information, about United Way's programs and events, visit the website, https://uwdp.org .

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Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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