Hamilton County Schools is still looking for about 200 of the 400 volunteers needed to help spruce up dozens of local schools and complete beautification projects later this month.
On July 27, the district will host the first annual "Better Together: District-wide Service Day." More than 20 schools are participating and projects include painting walls, helping teachers organize classrooms, landscaping and even pressure washing courts and bleachers.
"This a part of [Superintendent Bryan] Johnson's vision to increase and enhance family and community engagement in our district," said Kate Skonberg, family and community engagement coordinator for the district. "The event is part of our First Day Ready campaign, and the goal is really to not only get our community involved in supporting our schools but also to get our schools ready to support our kids."
Barger Academy of Fine Arts
Bess T. Shepherd Elementary
Big Ridge Elementary
Brainerd High School
Brown Middle School
Central High School
Center for Creative Arts
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences
Clifton Hills Elementary
East Lake Elementary
Lookout Valley Elementary
North Hamilton County Elementary
Red Bank Elementary
Red Bank High School
Red Bank Middle School
Snow Hill Elementary
Signal Mountain Middle/High
The idea for the project came from the success of the ongoing Brainerd Together initiative and the renovations that community members have been completing or sponsoring at Brainerd High School this summer.
More than a hundred volunteers spent a week in June at Brainerd — cleaning, painting, tiling floors, building desks and sprucing up classrooms. The project is a collaborative effort between the Brainerd High National Alumni Association and the school district, but many community members have expressed a desire to help support other schools, district leaders said.
"This is something new that we haven't done before," Skonberg said.
She said schools submitted projects they considered priorities for that specific campus.
Volunteers can pick which school or project they are interested in helping, whether it's pressure washing the baseball field bleachers at Brown Middle School, painting a mural at Clifton Hills Elementary or beautifying the soccer field at Signal Mountain Middle/High School.
"There are huge needs regarding maintenance in our schools," Skonberg said. "The community can play a huge role."
Volunteers will need to bring their own power tools or supplies to use at some projects. Families are encouraged to volunteer together, and Skonberg advises that children under 12 should participate with parent supervision.
Students are also able to earn community service hours during the event.
Those unable to assist physically or attend the event, which runs from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on July 27, are still able to help. Schools are looking for donations such as water, snacks, mulch, painting supplies and other items.
For more information, visit www.hcde.org/parents___students/firstdayready/better_together or contact Kate Skonberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-498-7188.
To view the list of projects or sign-up to volunteer, visit signup.com/group/5170285265140200126.
Contact Meghan Mangrum at email@example.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.