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Hundreds of Lake Oswego middle schoolers spend day off giving back to the community

COURTESY PHOTO - Lakeridge Middle School students sorted and delivered food to the local Hunger Fighters Oregon food pantry.Lake Oswego middle schoolers may have had the day off last Friday, but that didn't stop many from waking up early and getting out in the community to do some good. Students from Lake Oswego and Lakeridge Middle Schools volunteered at various sites around the city and beyond.

About 200 Lake Oswego Junior High students spent the day organizing and tidying the LO Public Library, cleaning up Springbrook Park, working at the Tualatin Schoolhouse Pantry, sorting at the Caring Closet in Tigard, preparing the Lake Oswego Hunt for winter, preparing raised beds for planting at Luscher Farms, serving lunch at the Adult Community Center, and more.

This was Lakeridge Middle School's first community service day, and 162 students signed up to make dog and cat toys for the Oregon Humane Society, sort and transport food for Hunger Fighters Oregon, clean up River Grove Elementary and Lakeridge Middle Schools, and more.COURTESY PHOTO - Lake Oswego Junior High students Grace Peng, Ava Beach and Isabel Alles volunteering at With Love, a non-profit that supports foster families.

"With a day off of school, parents are looking for something productive for their kids to do," said parent Linda Scipio del Campo, who co-organized LOJ's community service day. "This is something that we should be doing anyway, so this is a structured way for them to get involved. It helps teach them how to get out into the world and find these opportunities, which often leads to kids being interested in doing more service work."

Students were not required to participate in community service day, but rather signed up voluntarily for the opportunity of their choosing. "We have a wide range of opportunities from garden cleanup to serving lunch to seniors," Scipio del Campo said. "This day gives them a taste of what it's like to give back."

According to Scipio del Campo, who sets up the volunteer opportunities for the day, organizations are always happy to have the students. "They are very grateful for the assistance and also very complimentary of the groups who have visited in past years," she said. "It's such a great way for our students to show respect and give back to those organizations who work so hard to take care of our most vulnerable neighbors as well as our beautiful park areas."PMG PHOTO: CLAIRE HOLLEY - Lakeridge Middle School sutudents paused their cleanup of the campus to snap a photo.

Lakeridge parent club co-president Kirsten Carnese said she was inspired to bring community service day to Lakeridge Middle School after seeing its success at LOJ. "I thought it was amazing and wanted to bring it to our side of the lake," she said. "We pretty much mirrored what LOJ was already doing very well: to get kids out into the community and match them with different opportunities throughout the area."

Lakeridge Principal Kurt Schultz said he was excited to see the impacts of the first community service day. "We're excited for kids and parents to use the day off serving others," he said. "It's all part of building our future together."

LOJ student Noelle Plasse enjoys participating in community service day, especially because her mom Rachel is one of the coordinators. "It's fun to learn about the community and give back," she said. Plasse spent her day at the Adult Community Center serving lunch to seniors. "I hadn't volunteered here before and thought it would be fun," she said. "I've learned a lot about the Adult Community Center."

Baron Kurland chose to come to Lake Oswego Hunt, a local equestrian club, so he could be around the horses. "I like helping out and giving back," he said. "I like being with animals, and it's a good use of a day off."PMG PHOTO: CLAIRE HOLLEY - Jeb Scipio del Campo delivers milk to a table of seniors at the Adult Community Center on community service day.

Lindsey Reiger, an employee at Lake Oswego Hunt, said she appreciated having the students spend their day off volunteering. "It's really nice to have this many young and enthusiastic volunteers," she said. "They've made small work out of a big job. If staff did this it would've taken hours — and we're old so someone would have probably thrown their back


LOJ student Sebastian Joyce said he enjoyed spending the day off doing something useful. "I like helping people out," he said. "It's a nice day, and if I weren't doing this I'd just be sitting at home playing Minecraft."

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