Updated Thu, May 15, 2014 2:40 pm
Driving up to Coolville Elementary School one of the first things you notice are the flower beds with fresh mulch and a the absence of weeds.
Participants in the Girl Power after-school program had planted seeds in the classroom a few weeks ago and after watching the seeds grow, planted those along with other plants in front of the school.
The girls planted sunflowers, weeded the areas and placed fresh mulch around the plants in place. The group also had the assistance of one of the male students from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the project.
Under the direction of Athens County Children Services School Outreach Case Worker Angela Myers, Girl Power is an after school program, which works with girls in grades 4-6, with a focus on empowering the girls to build self-esteem and healthy relationships.
The program also encourages community involvement by the participants.
“I was quite surprised and absolutely thrilled,” said Coolville Elementary Principal May Mitchell of the work completed by the students.
“The staff is taking ownership of the school and engaging the students,” said Mitchell of the efforts of staff members at the school to assist and plan projects such as this one. “They are comfortable moving forward, taking into consideration the interest of the students.”
“This is not a top down school,” added Mitchell. “Everyone feels ownership for the school.”
That’s not the only project taking place outside of the Coolville Elementary building in recent days.
Behind the school, students along with Americorps volunteer Sarah Fisher have constructed a garden with a variety of produce. The garden is a partnership with Community Food Initiatives.
CFI provides guidance, seeds, and the boards to construct the raised beds.
Produce from the garden will be used as part of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Project this summer which feeds children during the summer months. The program is a countywide project through Athens County Children Services.