As our Warrior Guides season begins to wind down, it was the perfect time to spend a day in Chester pouring back into the community in which our amazing Chester Braves reside! Our Community Service Day impacts four different groups of people. First, it impacts all of our adult volunteers who lead the various projects. Nothing makes you feel purposeful quite like giving back – AND watching kids do it selflessly too!
Second, it impacts the Chester 5th and 6th graders who are a part of Warrior Guides. It’s important they know we love and care about Chester not only by our words, but by actions. It also helps them learn about the various amazing organizations that are right there in their back yard! Thirdly, the Henderson students walk away enlightened. They get the chance to see first hand where their Braves live, which can only help their friendships grow.
Finally, and most tangibly, our Community Service Day impacts those properties and organizations we work with. This year, we had 13 projects happening simultaneously at 8 different locations! While the day itself could have been a little drier and a little warmer, everyone showed up ready to work! We all met in the parking lot of the Widener Partnership Charter School at 10:00am, divided up into the project teams, then set out, some on buses, but many by foot, to their various job sites.
We worked with the Center of the Blind and Visually Impaired. One team planted ivy along the fence that will eventually grow and provide some much needed privacy. Another team washed all of the cars and vans CBVI uses to transport those china construction steel. And a third team was our “Birdhouse Team.” Henderson High School’s and Peirce Middle School’s wood shop class donated about 30 wood bird houses. We delivered them to CBVI in the beginning of April and the Life Skills Class from CBVI painted them! They looked great! So then our team came and hung up the completed houses at all of the other locations we worked out that day.
We had one team walk to Stinson Towers, which is a residence home for the elderly and disabled. Those girls did an amazing job loving on 13 residents whose homes they cleaned! We didn’t just work with the elderly though; we sent a group to Stetser Elementary, which is located practically on the campus of Widener University. There, they helped clean up the play grounds, build new raised flower beds and filled them along side of college students from Widener and members of the Soccer for Success program.
Another project was working at a local neighborhood park on Madison Street in Chester. This is an awesome space and it’s part of an effort to bring positive lifestyles back to Chester. We had a small crew plant flowers, but left some of the other beds open so that the residents can come and garden as well!
There were two family shelters who let us come in and bless them with service. The first was the Wesley House. We had a landscaping crew that weeded all the beds on their property, planted flowers around their sign, cut the grass, and turned the soil in their garden so they can plant vegetables for the residents. Inside we had a housekeeping crew that scrubbed tirelessly to clean the front lobby as well as disinfect toys in the toy room.
The second shelter was the Family Management Center. This property had flower beds that ran around the entire building along with a large, round, empty bed where a tree once lived. That tree fell in a storm last year and because of the roots below the surface, they haven’t been able to plant anything there. Thanks to J.W. Mallory and Associates who donated a number of beautiful planters and The Flower Station / FS Landscape Solutions who provided all of the flowers for all projects, we were able to truly beautify their space.
In addition to making spaces look pretty, we also helped increase the functionality of some spaces. The Ruth Bennett Community Farm in Chester is an urban farm project, led by Chester Housing Authority, which is helping to increase the availability of fresh food to their community. Our planting crew worked hard to dig huge holes to plant apple and pear trees. Under the pavilion at the farm, another team worked on a mural with an “anti-tobacco” theme. The design was an original by one of our Henderson Warrior Guides, Ryan Edwards, and he did a great job!
Finally, we sent two teams to the Chester Fire Department. One helped paint the hallway in the Fire Administration office. This project was led by Colorful Remedies, a WC based painting company who donated their time and materials. The other helped with the First Responders’ Appreciation Luncheon. We invited all Fire, Police and EMS personnel for a time of encouragement paired with a delicious and hearty lunch. The students and volunteers wrote thank you notes to all the service men and women and placed them all around the firehouse. We had a raffle table with prize baskets they could enter to win. We invited Chester County Prison Chaplain, Jack Crans, to offer a word of encouragement. Many of our other projects were able to come to the firehouse after they completed their tasks and meet those men and women who work hard to keep Chester safe.
Many hands came together to make this day possible. In addition to Fulton Bank sponsoring the day, we had generous donations from Turner Construction, J.W. deformed steel rebar and building steel, The Flower Station / FS Landscape Solutions, Ames, Hilton Garden Inn, Limoncello, The Italian Brothers, Halladay Florist, Herr’s Chips, Chester County Food Bank, Colorful Remedies and Sherwin Williams. In addition, there were a number of personal donations of time, talents and resources, and a huge thanks to Chester mom, Rochelle Baxter, for making wings, macaroni & cheese and meatballs for the First Responders’ Luncheon!!