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Join the ‘Wake Up Walton’ service team — helping senior citizens in Walton and Verona on Saturday

By Maridith Yahl
NKyTribune reporter

This Saturday over 275 volunteers will spend their morning serving senior citizens in the Walton and Verona communities.

“Wake Up Walton” began 11 years ago by a thoughtful student at Walton-Verona High School looking for a service project. She needed a project which would take 50 hours and in which she would coordinate. This young student wanted to care for others while learning leadership skills so she could be accepted into the YMCA’s summer service program, Students Y’s.

With the help of Peggy Schutzman, a high school teacher at Walton-Verona, the two created a fun, service learning project. Doing yard work for seniors provides an opportunity for the students at school to connect with their community.

Photo by Andy Foltz from a previous Wake Up Walton service day.

This community-wide service project has grown over the years. Each year an army of volunteers of students, staff, administrators and board members at Walton-Verona Independent Schools, with the help from local businesses, churches, and community members, make it a true community collaboration. It’s a meaningful way of helping your neighbor.

Peggy Schutzman is the faculty advisor for the project as well as the advisor for the school’s Student Y Group. In those roles, she picks a student who has shown great leadership to serve as the student coordinator. This year senior Elizabeth Stapleton was selected. She is charged with putting together a core group of student leaders to help promote the service learning project within the school and out in the community. The students will also be out there Saturday working with all of the other volunteers doing yard work.

The volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. at Walton-Verona High School to fuel themselves with breakfast for the work-day ahead and to receive their assignments.

Then the fun begins!

Volunteers go to local seniors houses, armed with rakes, shovels, and any other equipment needed for yard work and will “Wake Up” their neighbors by mulching, planting flowers, and other various tasks.

This year 45 homes will be spruced up for spring. The senior citizens whose houses are worked on are always very touched and grateful.

“Every year they pull me or the team aside to say how much this means to them, that teenagers are willing to give up time on their busy weekend to help out a complete stranger,” says Peggy.

Even more beautiful Peggy says, “this project builds trust and bonds between the kids and senior citizens.”

A small act of kindness can truly change lives, the lives of both parties involved.

On many occasions during the project throughout the years, some of the students have given their phone numbers to the seniors and told them to call anytime they needed help. They were available for anything.

You can be part of this service project and connect into your community by showing up Saturday, May 4th at Walton-Verona High School at 8:30 a.m. for a free breakfast and team assignment. The work lasts until about 12 pm. Who knows, maybe you’ll make a new friend that day.

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