Behind the Scenes to the Day of Service

It is that time of year again! Riverside-Brookfield High School’s Day of Service is on April 29 and is the premiere school wide community service project of the year. Last year nearly 300 RB students and 40 staff members participated in the event. Tasks for the students include cleaning and restoring surrounding forest preserves.

RB’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) plays a huge part for this substantial event and planning for the event takes a great effort.

“The Day of Service budget was set in June 2016 with the approval of the 2016-2017 PTO budget and the actual planning began in January, 2017,” said Mary Ellen Meindl, PTO President.

The budget for the Day of Service reserves $2,000 from the PTO budget each year for the Day of Service and receives monetary donations from organizations such as Frederick Law Olmsted Society and the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce.

“We anticipate over $4000 in monetary and good donations. Also, this year we might be participating in the Kohl’s Care program. With this program, Kohl’s supplies company volunteers to work at our community service project in return for a monetary donation,” said Meindl.

In order to organize 300 plus students, the PTO groups students into groups that work on different community projects. Many tools for the project are provided by the RB Building Maintenance Department and each of the Villages. Over 20 projects are designed in part by the surrounding villages and organizations.

“This year, we reached out to the Village of Brookfield, Riverside, North Riverside, the Salt Creek Watershed Network, Fredrick Law Olmsted Society, Cook County Forest Preserve and the Brookfield Beautification Preservation to confirm interest and create project lists,” said Meindl.

The PTO also has students participate with the Student Leadership Team.

“This group of students helps with planning the event, internal promotion running the t-shirt design contest and helping with student registration,” said Meindl.

Students are motivated to take part in the Day of Service by having a competitive scavenger hunt and a contest to where project groups are challenged to collect the most bags of trash in order to win. Some students have other reasons to participate.

“The purpose is for students to have a chance to help make an impact on their community in a positive way. It also is to help individuals have a sense of accomplishment and a sense of pride in their work while helping other people,” said Patty Young, a math teacher at RB who is involved in the Day of Service.

Helping out the community speaks a lot of the strong character embodied in the students of RB. One of the Six Pillars of Character Counts is citizenship. Students can gain three to four community service hours through the Day of Service. Many students take pride in serving the community.

“I participate in the day of service because it’s nice to give back to the community,” says sophomore Itzel Mancilla. “Community service is important because some people don’t take care of it so we need to help out and take care of it.”

The Day of Service was originally ran by teachers and administration, but eventually the task was handed over to the PTO.

“The Day of Service was originated when the community passed the referendum to complete the capital improvement projects at RB,” said Meindl. “Day of Service was RB’s way of saying thank you to the community.”

The Day of Service is an RB tradition where “effort” seems to be its adjective. Whether it would be the hundreds of students serving their community, or the many parents, staff and community members who organize the project, the Day of Service needs the time and passion of community members in order to proceed.

“This year I hope to see everyone participate and take it seriously, but have fun while doing it,” said Mancilla.