Burlington students get a lesson in giving back - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington students get a lesson in giving back

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For Edmunds Middle School students, it's all about making strangers smile.

"We decided to come down here and do random acts of kindness because we saw it on the internet and we thought it was a good idea, so we made all these flowers," said Norah Mitchell, a student.

And it's more than just a handful of students-- it's the whole school. It's a Service Day at Edmunds Middle School and each class found a different way to give back.

"Our homeroom is doing a carwash to help with the Make-A-Wish Foundation," said Rebecca Berlind, an eighth-grader.

The Day of Service comes from the school's yearlong Thoughtful Thursday event, where every week, students find some way to impact the community. On this day, students learned about being a team.

"We get to work together as a group and take turns and learn some new skills," said Jim Vanduyn, a special educator at EMS.

"The Day of Service is a culminating product where after a yearlong of conversations in homerooms, it was a chance for students to say, 'So what can we do now? What can we do to make our community more diverse?'" said Tiffany Tillman, the community outreach coordinator at EMS.

Students found ways to bring diversity and awareness to the community by taking on everything from building benches to planting flowers.

"A lot of it has been student and teacher driven," Tillman said. "For two months now they've been kind of working in the morning on deciding what projects they want to do and planning the projects and connecting with local or community partners."

With the help of the community, Wednesday's projects helped students understand the value of helping others.

"It's important to us because as a school we wanna help the community and do different things to just help people," said Sophie Reed, a sixth-grader.

And the Day of Service shows these students are ready to make a change.

For Edmunds Middle School students, the community work doesn't end here. Teachers encourage students to give back every week on Thursdays through their yearlong Thoughtful Thursdays program.

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