On prom day this Friday, Lakewood High students are rallying together in service through a variety of activities focusing on the community and benefiting others like premature babies.
A March of Dimes walk will be held at the school from 9 until 10 a.m. and the public is welcome to come out and support the school through the walk and other fundraising activities that will be in progress, organizers said.
“This is a big spring project,” said student Coleman Simpson during an interview Tuesday. Coleman said the March of Dimes Wonder Walk is being sponsored by the Key Club and the PGC group. PGC is Peer Group Connections which pairs freshman at the beginning of the year with an upper class mentor. PGC was started about four or five years ago; the Key Club is an extension of the Kiwanis. The two groups have about 40 students who have been working on the Wonder Walk along with staff members.
“The Key Club has been collecting money for this,” said Simpson. “Students have either been collecting a lump donation or taking sponsorships.” Sponsorships may be garnered either by paying per lap or by the mile that they walk.
Tonya Williams, who is working with the students on this project along with Michelle Smoak and other advisors, said this is one way the Key Club gives back to the community. The Wonder Walk name came from the Fayetteville March of Dimes office, said Williams who explained that the name is being used by other groups who are also walking on Friday.
“This teaches students to give back to the community and teaches them how to invest in their community,” Williams explained.
“It also teaches us leadership skills,” detailed Simpson.
“The students have been extremely active,” said Williams. “They have been taking on large projects, like the cell phones for soldiers project.”
“We want to invite community members and anyone who wants to come out and walk to come,” said Williams. “We also would invite anyone to donate to this worthwhile cause.” Donations can be made by calling the school (910-525-5171) and speaking with Williams or Smoak, as well as visiting the website atwww.marchforbabies.org/team/lakewoodhighschool.
“Our monetary goal is to donate $1,000 to the March of Dimes,” Simpson noted.
“It would be really great to have a bunch of people walk with us,” added Simpson.
During the Wonder Walk, there will be 12 community service projects going on as well. Twenty-four upperclassmen will be leading and working with freshmen on a variety of those initiatives.
“Students will be working on planting a vegetable garden, having a talent show at Autumn Winds, and having field days at local elementary schools,” said Sheila Davidson, one of the PGC advisers. Other planned projects include working with kindergarten classes about going green, planting butterfly plants at a daycare and having an Easter Egg hunt and spring party.
“We will also have a car wash at school,” said Davidson. “We will be ‘Washing Out Cancer.’ Some students will be involved with soup kitchens and care packages, and the dog shelter will be having a donation and adoption drive.” Walmart is planning on donating dog food and she said that these service projects will be great for enhancing students at the school, by giving them leadership opportunities.
“It’s on them,” said Davidson. She said that she helps the students get supplies but the individual projects are the students’ responsibility.
“We want to develop the skill sets of leadership,” said Williams. “They need more responsibility to go beyond high school.”
“(The students) run the projects and they supervise, teaching us independence and leadership skills,” added Simpson. Tommie Owens is a PGC student advocate and coadvisor who also is working on these projects.
“I facilitate the logistical aspects,” said Owens. He will be going with groups to monitor their progress, and said that much of his work is behind the scenes. He said that the groups are a large part of the school and that they have really grown to be much more recognizable.
“The school takes it very seriously,” Owens added. This is the fourth year of PGC and he has been with it since it started. PGC was developed and put together by mentors and Owens said that the program is just as good for the mentors as it is for those being mentored to.
To donate online visit www.marchforbabies.org/team/lakewoodhighschool or call the school at 910-525-5171.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.