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On April 23, students gathered in the Lakeridge Middle School gymnasium for community outreach activities

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Students slathered peanut butter between dog treats. In rhythmic movements, eighth grader Julianna Cahill weaved three pieces of fabric over and under one another.

On April 23, Julianna was one of about 100 Lakeridge Middle School students who spent their Saturday helping others as part of the Lakeridge Cares Day, a Parent Teacher Association-led event that encourages students to give back to their communities.

"I signed up for this event because I love animals and wanted to make dog and cat toys for them," said Julianna as she lifted up a finished dog toy made of the weaved fabric.

The PTA had its first event back in 2019, but it was halted for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the April 23 event, students filled the middle school's gymnasium, hopping from table to table as they package food, mad pet toys and treats or create handmade cards. While other students ventured outside the school doors and volunteered their time at the Tualatin School House Pantry and Oregon Humane Society. COURTESY PHOTO: HEATHER WICK - Some Lakeridge Middle School students spent the day volunteering at Oregon Humane Society.

"I have always tried to do these things that engage our communities and help out in any way that I can, because it makes me feel really good inside and happy," said Julianna.

At one of the tables, sixth grader Claire McUnell decorated a handmade card that would soon be used by deployed soldiers to send back to their families.

"I volunteered because it feels good to give back to other people and not know who will be getting the donations," Claire said. "I think it is nice to give (cards to soldiers) because they probably don't get a lot of stuff while serving the country. And the cards are a really nice thing to do."

COURTESY PHOTO: HEATHER WICK - As some students packaged food and made dog treats in the school gym, other students got their hands dirty by adding new plants to the school's campus.

Students could also participate in volunteer work during the prior school week. Some options available to students were to donate food to a local charity, recycle something or write thank you cards to first responders.

"It is so refreshing to see students talk to each other and work together," said Lakeridge Vice Principal Amy Hattendorf. "It's also great to see kids get to be kids and get to do something that gives back while having fun."

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