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Youth ready to lend a hand

March 9, 2011
Kylie Saari — Staff Writer

FAIRMONT - Almost 800 local teenagers are looking for something to do between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on May 5. They hope you can help.

Cardinal Connections, a program at Fairmont Area Jr./Sr. High School, is bringing back its community service day, this time with a twist.

"We want the community to be involved," said project coordinator Sara Gudahl.

Any business, group or individual with a project that needs completing is encouraged to fill out an application form available on the high school's website and at various locations around town.

The school has 52 groups of about 15 students available for anything from landscaping, to painting, to stocking shelves - anything and everything will be considered.

Two years ago, the first year for Cardinal Connections, groups were dispatched to assist at local cemeteries and parks, with a few groups helping individuals. Students largely preferred working with individuals, an aspect that came as a surprise to Gudahl.

"In general, they really like this," she said. "We polled them and they said they wanted it to be more personal."

After an application is accepted, students will contact the person they are helping to find out more information.

Applicants are encouraged to have all supplies necessary for their project.

Cardinal Connections is a program students participate in every two weeks for 40 minutes.

"It is a three-part program focusing on academics, career and service," Gudahl said.

In the beginning of the year, students talk about how they can serve the others in their group, then move outward in their discussions to the school, before taking on the community project.

Gudahl said there may be some limitations to what students can do, such as working with power tools, although there are students involved in building trades at the school and others may get parental permission.

"We may have to call the person and say the project is out of the scope of the student," she said, noting that knowing what people need will help Cardinal Connections prepare for next year.

Applications are due March 31.



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