By Bob Skolnik
Last week, students at Hollywood School in Brookfield spent part of their day making things for others on what they called Volunteer Day, organized by Hollywood's Volunteer Club, which was formed this year by resource teacher Colleen Nelson.
On June 6, Hollywood students from kindergarten through fourth grade made chew toys for pets, coloring books, fleece blankets and other items to give to various charitable groups in the area.
Fifth-graders did not participate because they were getting a taste of what middle school will be like next year by visiting L. J. Hauser Junior High School during the Step Up to Hauser Day.
Nelson, the sponsor of the Volunteer Club, said club members were looking for an end of the year project so they brainstormed about what they could do or make to help others.
"I took all their ideas, which were a lot, and reached out to different organizations to see which of those ideas would work and what people needed in different areas," Nelson said.
Twenty-seven members of the Volunteer Club supervised eight different work stations that were set up in the school gym last week. Staggered throughout the day, each class would come down and work on five of those stations.
"The stations they were assigned were based on ability," Nelson said. "The younger students did activities that were appropriate for them; the older students did activities that were appropriate for them."
The students made chew toys for dogs and fleece pompons for cats, which were donated to Animal Care League in Oak Park. They also made fortune tellers and coloring books that were donated to Lurie Children's Hospital, fleece blankets that were given to the Loyola University Medical Center and placemats and decorated lunch bags that were given to Meals on Wheels. Students also wrote out cheerful spring-themed cards for residents of Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care in North Riverside.
Nelson created the Volunteer Club at Hollywood School this year after getting many more applications for spots on the Student Council than she could fill. She sought to create another way to for kids to get involved and help out the wider community.
Second-graders, who learned about civic involvement this year from speakers like Brookfield Village President Kit Ketchmark and state Rep. Michael Zalewski, have worked to help re-design Candy Cane Park in Brookfield.