Hundreds of students rally for a day of community service projects

Estes Thrives Day brings students and community members together to say thanks.

Estes Park, COOn Friday, May 15, more than 1,000 students from Estes Park schools will join with community members and educators for Estes Thrives Day, a community service event. Students will work in teams alongside adults to tackle projects including tree planting, painting, and cleanupand to plan ahead for future projects.

As the school year comes to a close, we want to reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a caring, beautiful, and inspiring community,said Ruby Bode, Principal of Estes Park Middle School. So many community members and organizations give time and resources to our students every year. Estes Thrives Day is a chance for us to give back.

This day of service launches Estes Thrives, a youth driven community engagement initiative aimed at bringing the whole Estes Park community together to create a bright future. The Estes Park School District is coordinating the ongoing initiative, which will help students bring purpose and passion to their learning careers through connections to the world beyond school walls.

Education is about preparing our students for the futuretheir future and ours,said Sheldon Rosenkrance, Superintendent of Estes Park School District. Our students learn better when we give them opportunities to creatively apply their knowledge and skills in ways that make a difference. These young people have so much to offer our community, and when they do, everybody wins.

Fifty students, school staff, and community members gathered on May 6th to generate ideas for projects, including public art, youth-senior activities, and collaborations with businesses and National Parks.

Our community has gone through a lot recently: the flood, the fire, and now three students have died in the last few monthssaid Tristin Myers, a sophomore at Estes Park High School who spoke during the event. Some communities might lose hope, but our community is so willing to help, full of love, and close. Its nice to be a part of a community like this.

During Estes Thrives Day, approximately 300 high school students will apply their creativity to planning ahead for future projects to be implemented during the 2015-2016 school year, while about 270 middle school students will work on hands-on projects, including:

1.   Seeding grass and cleanup at Mary's Lake Campground with Estes Valley Rec District.

2.   Painting the storage units at the aquatic center and football practice field.

3.   Cleaning up the campus at the YMCA of the Rockies.

4.   Creating white hearts to decorate the American Legion, for the Ride for Aurora this July 18th.

5.   Designing and beginning to create a Memorial Garden for lost loved ones.

Elementary school students will also participate by planting trees as part of an Arbor Day program sponsored by the Town of Estes Parks and the Estes Park Parks Advisory Board.

For a full list of activities and information about Estes Thrives Day and the Estes Thrives initiative, please visit www.estesthrives.org Organizations and individuals interested in partnering with Estes Park Schools as part of the Estes Thrives initiative are invited to contact Superintendent Sheldon Rosenkrance.