Through an annual Service Learning Day on April 28 at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn, more than 1,000 students found creative ways to get involved and make their mark on the local community. (Supplied photos)

Through an annual Service Learning Day on April 28 at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn, more than 1,000 students found creative ways to get involved and make their mark on the local community. (Supplied photos)

OLHMS students enjoy their Day of Service

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Through an annual Service Learning Day on April 28 at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St., Oak Lawn, more than 1,000 students found creative ways to get involved and make their mark on the local community.

By Kelly White

Oak Lawn-Hometown students spent a day providing generous acts of service for others.

Through an annual Service Learning Day on April 28 at the school, 5345 W. 99th St, in Oak Lawn, more than 1,000 students found creative ways to get involved and make their mark on the local community.

“Providing service and spreading kindness is a crucial positive attribute to hold in your life,” Maggie Omiecinski, seventh-grade science teacher and facilitator for OLHMS Service Learning Day, said. “I want our OLHMS scholars to take this day and remember it as a core memory. Then take it into their own hands to spread service and kindness in their everyday lives.”

OLHMS Service Learning Day was a day where OLHMS scholars completed five hours of acts of service in one day.

“This beautiful day would not have been possible without the generosity of the District 123 Educational Foundation funding all our projects,” Omiecinski said.

The Service Learning Day provided several ways for students to get involved.

OLHMS sixth-graders completed service projects that foster the enrichment of animals at the Cosley Zoo by making paper mache pinatas and the DuPage Animal Shelter by making snack snuffle mats.

The sixth-graders also made cans of hope for the Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, by decorating cans and filling them with slips of paper to be pulled for daily motivation, to spark kindness and foster positive vibes. Emoji bookmarks were created for our Oak Lawn Library to spread smiles to visitors. Paper flowers and painted planters were created to spread cheer at local nursing homes.

Students in the seventh-grade were busy working in the school’s pollinator garden spreading mulch and lots of Spring preparation to the OLHMS grounds. While other seventh-graders ventured to local feeder schools to read grade appropriate texts about service. They also played games and helped teachers in their classrooms and helped tidy up the outdoor areas with happy chalk displays.

Eighth-graders went out to the surrounding communities to provide acts of service. One location that was visited was the Cradles to Crayons organization. The school’s eighth-grade Variety Show cast and crew raised and donated $1,025 to this organization and students also collected 695 pairs of socks to donate. This organization helps support poverty-stricken areas in the city by providing clothing and other necessities to people in need.

Other eighth-grade groups partnered with Richards High School and Oak Lawn High School to work on several service projects such as tie blankets for Hope Children’s Hospital and making positive reminder cards to make safe decisions on prom night.

“Watching all our partnerships in the community all coming together on this day is truly beautiful,” Omiecinski said. “The amount of thought that goes into each of these projects is truly amazing to watch unfold and the students’ excitement is contagious.”

OLHMS also held a food drive for our local food pantry at Pilgrim Faith Church and collected over 300 food donations. They had the opportunity to even package the donations collected that will directly benefit the Oak Lawn community.

Other locations visited were the Center in Palos, where students helped facilitate animal stations for preschool groups; Lake Katherine, where students help with ground cleanup of invasive species; Johanssons Farms and Nursery, where students helped the nursery get ready for Spring by labeling and organizing plants; Wolfe Wildlife trail in Oak Lawn was cleaned up; and the Oak Lawn Public Library, where students organized books.

“Students actively participated in five hours of service in not typical situations they are accustomed to,” Omiecinski said. “This opened up our students’ eyes to the possibilities of service they can get involved in, in the future.”

With five hours of service per student and 1,121 students participating, that totaled 5,605 total hours of service in just one amazing day.

Service Learning changed our perspective and outlook on the world; It’s really important to help other people who are in need and to give back to the community, OLHMS students said.

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Through an annual Service Learning Day on April 28 at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn, more than 1,000 students found creative ways to get involved and make their mark on the local community.

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