With the summer months in full swing, a school in Dubuque, Iowa is giving students the option to complete yard work for struggling elderly or disabled residents in exchange for gym class credits.
According to KWWL-TV, the Alternative Learning Center allows students to choose from various activities the last two weeks of school that can be credited to their physical education requirements. One option is completing yard work for people in their community that need assistance.
One teacher, Tom Hitzler, told KWWL-TV that “the students and I and other students come out and help [the elderly and disabled]. Could be raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting grass, cleaning gutters; just depends on what they need.”
Hitzler explained that the reason he wanted to add this option was two-fold. He wanted to both help out the community, but he also wanted to help the students.
“The students aren’t typically too excited at the beginning but once they get involved and start doing the yard work they become more motivated,” he said.
“What they really like is, A: helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person.”
Hitzler also told KCRG-TV that the work also gives the students a sense of accomplishment.
“It’s a rewarding feeling, you know we get to give back to the community but the kids feel a sense of accomplishment, too,” he said. “People are very appreciative. Sometimes they cook us a meal. We had cheeseburgers the other day, ham sandwiches one day, today it was brats. So it’s a win-win for everybody.”
According to WTHR-TV, the Alternative Learning Center is “a school for high school juniors and seniors who are at risk of dropping out of school,” which offers courses that you wouldn’t typically find in a “traditional” high school.