Hundreds of Riverside-Brookfield High School students and adult volunteers will be out at various spots within the boundaries of District 208, pulling weeds, planting flowers, picking up trash and generally sprucing things up during the school’s Day of Service event on Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to noon.
For the second straight year, the event is being organized by the high school’s PTO. About 350 students have signed up to take part in the event.
“This year we’ll be at 31 sites in RB communities, working with the park districts and the forest preserve district to do what they need the kids to do,” said Dina Sanchez, a PTO member who is the lead organizer for the Day of Service.
The Day of Service started out at RBHS in 2006 under then-Superintendent/Principal Jack Baldermann, who used it as a way of saying thank you to voters who had approved a major bond referendum that funded the renovation and expansion of the school.
In its initial form, students were assigned to help out local senior citizens with household tasks, like painting, washing windows, raking leaves and other things that were difficult for the seniors to do themselves.
The District 208 school board ended the program in 2011 as part of a host of budget cuts. But the PTO was convinced to revive the Day of Service in 2013, and last year held it in conjunction with Project NICE, the community-wide clean-up effort held every spring in Brookfield.
The two events will again coincide. Project NICE is an effort led by the Brookfield Beautification Commission. PTO president Pam Powers is also a member of that commission.
The decision to move away from the Day of Service’s original mission of helping specific senior citizens was a practical one, Powers said.
“When the PTO took it over last year, we were just logistically not able to do it,” said Powers. “But also in terms of liability and safety, we felt it was a better fit to keep it with public projects.”
This year’s student turnout is an uptick from last year’s 225 students. Of course, last year’s event came in the immediate aftermath of flooding, which had an impact on both participation and suitable work sites.
Sculpture mock-up displayed during Project NICE
Anyone heading over to the Kiwanis Park in Brookfield on April 26 for Project NICE can also get a glimpse at a model of the sculpture being proposed for the “taxi stand” area on the north side of the railroad tracks just east of Prairie Avenue in downtown Brookfield.
Beautify Brookfield, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the Brookfield Beautification Commission, will be displaying a 2-foot tall mock-up of the sculpture at a tent that’s tentatively slated to be located near the Liberty Bell replica in Kiwanis Park during Project NICE.
According to Powers, the goal is to share information about the public sculpture project with the public and also solicit donations for the piece, which is being designed by Brookfield resident Paul Russell.
“There will be a list of opportunities for people to donate,” Powers said.
Volunteers, both individuals and groups, are welcome to participate in Project NICE. Meet at the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave., at 8:30 a.m. to pick up a work site assignment, gloves, tools and a T-shirt.
For more information visit the village of Brookfield’s website at www.brookfieldil.gov.