This Iowa School Gives P.E. Credits to Students Who Help the Elderly & Disabled with Yard Work

Instead of running laps or playing basketball as it is the case in other schools, students from the Alternative Learning Center in Dubuque, Iowa earn their P.E. credits differently, i.e. by volunteering. Indeed, students who help those in need are our future!

Namely, every year, two weeks or so before the school year ends, the school allows students to choose from a plethora of activities for their P.E. credits and one activity is to help to an elderly or disabled individual with their yard work.

According to a teacher from this school who has also initiated the program, Tim Hitzler, they come out and offer their help to these people, whether it is by cutting grass, raking trees, pulling weeds or cleaning their gutters, whatever they need.

Helping Others, an Amazing Feeling

According to Hitzler, this opportunity enables a stronger community and teaches young people about the importance of volunteering.

Though a lot of the students aren’t always excited in the beginning, once they start helping, their motivation increases and they realize how good it is to help others.

They want to give back to the community and like meeting the people they’re helping.

The teachers are pleased with the attention this volunteering program has gotten.

Hitzler began the program four years ago when the school opened up a garden. He says that every year since, the students have worked with him for two hours per day during school week at the end of the school year.

29 students were part of this service program as part of their requirements for P.E. Hitzler adds that 12 students signed up for yard work specifically.

This program has grown into a community-building project with a lot of community members inviting over the students for dinners and cookouts.

The Project’s Recognition Grows

Some of the students have also volunteered to continue with the service during the summer.

Hitzler explains that there are also students who have graduated, yet still come back to help people. He also uses his own pickup truck for the activities and offers his tools and some of the school.

He is positively surprised by the kindness that he’s come across on the internet regarding their project. This idea is so simple and this is its power.  

Isn’t this a wonderful idea and one that should definitely spread in other schools and communities too? Should students who help gain more recognition and be given more opportunities?





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