BEAVER ‒ While many students are looking forward to a break from classes this Thanksgiving, one local school district is using the last day of classes to give back to their community.
Students from the Beaver Area School District will be giving back to their neighbors through 23 different projects during the district’s “Day of Giving” on Wednesday. The event, which is organized by Beaver’s Social Handprints Overcoming Unjust Treatments (Shout) organization, will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and the projects created by students will be delivered before the holiday break.
“We have some really good students and they do some really good work here in our community,” said Heather Bixler, one of the event’s organizers and co-leader of the Shout program.
Created in 2019 by former principal Megan Murray, Beaver’s Day of Giving was created to allow students the opportunity to use the day before Thanksgiving break to help those in need around the area. As Murray prepared to depart the district, she handed over the reins of the Shout chapter to Beaver Area High School, which began to coordinate the event in 2021.
“We had a lot of enthusiasm,” said Aimee Firmani, another event organizer and co-sponsor for Shout. “I think giving the students some ownership over it allowed for them to come up with activity ideas that we hadn’t thought of before, like painting murals and positive messages in the bathrooms. The ownership of the activities really increased their engagement, being able to help and come up with their own ideas.”
After the success of last year’s event, local businesses from around the Beaver area have begun to show their support for the annual outreach program. This year, businesses such as Four Mile Childcare Center, Bags & Blessings, Hometown Happenings and the China House restaurant are helping sponsor the event and Graeter’s Ice Cream Food Truck will offer students and other community members some sweet treats at the school from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.
In addition to this support from local businesses, the program also received a $1,000 grant from the Beaver County Educational Trust. Through this grant and various support from the administration, the Day of Giving is ready to start implementing some of the student’s new ideas and give back to those in the community.
“This year, we wanted it to be more student-driven,” Bixler said. “We sent out a survey and asked the students which activities from last year they wanted to keep and what new activities they might have ideas for. Everything on our list of activities was generated by students this year.”
Throughout the Day of Giving, students will give back to the community in the following ways:
- Christmas caroling around Beaver
- Planting flower bulbs around the school campus
- Technology and paper recycling
- Cleaning up trash in downtown Beaver
- Making cards for hospital workers, kids in Children’s Hospital and pharmacy workers
- Activities with Dutch Ridge Elementary students
- Clothes sorting for Adoption Connection
- School library archive organization
- Making care bags for the “Pack a Purse for a Sister” at the Women’s Center Of Beaver County
- Touching up the murals in the school
- Baking cookies for women’s shelter residents
- Ornament painting for Bags & Blessings, which benefits cancer patients and their families
- Helping janitors clean the school
- Creating a Care Closet for underprivileged Beaver Area Middle School and High School students
- Provide maintenance to the mountain biking trail jumps in Beaver
- Making no-sew blankets to donate to The Giving Girls
- Creating Thanksgiving centerpieces for Beaver Meadows residents
- Helping Salvation Army set up for Toy Drive
- Make “goodie bags” and cards for teachers and staff members
- Working with local churches to make care baskets for local homebound residents
- Organizing and boxing collected items for Humane Society
- Creating craft kits for kids’ library classes
- Making candygrams for the VA hospital
Those looking to support students can help by purchasing the necessary materials for these projects from the Beaver Area School District Day of Giving wish list on Amazon. Purchases from the list will be delivered to the school to ensure that all necessary supplies are ready for the event.
Organizers are also still searching for gently used purses for the Pack a Purse program, which community members can donate at the high school office or at various drop boxes around downtown Beaver businesses. In addition to purses, Walmart gift cards are needed to purchase fleece and other materials for blankets.