The new Service Club at Hidden Valley Elementary School in Savage is off to a strong start by scheduling services projects each month for the remainder of the school year. The first project is collecting new and used shoes through Jan. 30 for Shoe Away Hunger, an organization that resells or recycles shoes to fund programs that feel the hungry. All types of shoes — casual, formal, athletic, boots, skates, flip flops, etc. — are wanted and can be dropped off at the school.
Taking the lead are students who are members of the Student Council and the Ambassadors. They have gone to every classroom to promote the service project with their classmates. Stephanie Cin, behavior interventionist, and Penny Renner, president of the Hidden Valley PTO, are supporting the service projects.
“We want little ones to know they can make a big difference locally and in the wider Twin Cities through their service projects,” said Cin, who added that the first service project will benefit both the environment and people in need. A local business called Unique is donating footwear to the service project.
Cin sees the service club as an expansion of community service projects the school has always done such as the $900 collected for Toys for Tots in December.
“It’s important for our students to think about problems in the community and to develop solutions,” said Cin. “This is an essential part of them becoming good citizens.”
Student service clubs, like the new one at Hidden Valley, are starting up at all elementary schools in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.
Shrey Pothini, a student at Harriet Bishop who founded their community service club, received a $25,000 grant from State Farm to expand service clubs across District 191. “It's something I want to see happen because I believe everybody in the elementary schools can make the world a better place and students shouldn't have to wait for junior high or high school to do service,” he said.