On October 12, Community Service Day in Walnut Creek, people gathered all over Walnut Creek to volunteer. Around 12 people volunteered at Indan Valley Elementary School for around three hours. Students from Las Lomas, Indian Valley and many others with a passion for helping the community came and cleaned up the school. The principal of Indian Valley, Millisa Banister, planned out the three hours as best as she could: “This year I helped organize the project at Indian Valley. Our flower beds outside the classrooms needed a lot of work and were hiding places for critters. You all probably know [that] we have snakes at IV!” The week before, for example, Indian Valley had several snake encounters. Even Indian Valley students, who range from five to eleven years old, all worked together to keep their school safe and clean. They pulled weeds, picked up trash, and helped their parents with larger projects such as cutting down dangerously low bushes. Sandra Safein, a sophomore at Las Lomas, loved her day at Indian Valley: “I wanted to do something to help and enrich myself because I knew that I would learn something new, and knowing I’m helping my community with my friends made me feel like I’m making a small difference in the world.”
Banister thanks the people who helped out that day and at other community service events. She wants to try and get others interested in community service: “If you have an idea for a project or want to help out – just ask! For many students, their elementary school is a place for really special memories. Many of the same teachers and staff are still at [Indian Valley] and absolutely love seeing you all. Please come by, say hello, and volunteer, [as] he students get so excited to see high schoolers around.
During a school holiday when you are off of school and we are in session, come and read to students [and] volunteer to come at lunchtime [or] play with the kids. You will be instant heroes and celebrities – and it always feels good to help out and know you are part of something bigger.”
Safein also wanted to speak out to our students at Las Lomas about community service: “ I think it was a great experience for me because you get to really do something important surrounded by great new friends.”