Raiders Respond Big In Eden

4:43 PM, May 26, 2012   |    comments
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EDEN, NY -- It's become an annual rite of spring in this southern Erie County community.

An all out effort by kids of all ages from Eden Central Schools and their teachers to make their community better.

Now in its third year, a day of community service called "Raider Respond" saw the students, teachers, and community mentors spread out to tackle more than 50 projects.

The tasks were varied, ranging from cleaning up public property to aiding the community's most vulnerable residents.

The youngest students staged a car wash, offering their services for free, but happily accepting donations for an effort to bring The Moving Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall to their community.

"There was a bit of a safety concern about them venturing off campus to do their part, so we decided to bring the event here to them," explained Grover L. Priess Primary School Principal Danielle Grimm.

Other kids, a bit older, spent time at a senior center visiting patrons or singing for them.

High School students swung hammers and cut wood to construct a new learning center outside the elementary school.

"We think that because this town and the teachers do so much for us that it's nice to give back to the community as well," said Caitlin Sickau, a high school senior, as she joined several of her classmates painting the town's Welch Farm Museum.

Sickau, like many others about to graduate and leave Eden to begin their own life's adventures, sought to make one last positive mark on the place they've called home all their lives.

Frank Brown, who along with his siblings provides round the clock care for his aging and chronically ill parents at their Evelyn Court home, was moved to tears when a busload of 5th graders showed up and began attacking the weed filled gardens which his mother and father, both in their 80's and infirmed, are no longer able to tend to.

"It's outstanding that this is being done for them by children who don't even know them," Brown said.

"That's what we're all about in Eden, giving back to our community," remarked School Superintendent Ronald Buggs. "It's heartwarming to see that we can come out as a school community and do this for the place in which we all live and work."

While the students at Eden aren't forced to take part in the community service, there was no shortage of volunteers among them willing to trade a day at class, for a day of labor...and a lifetime of lessons learned about how good it is and how good it feels to help.

"Today was a teachable moment in every regard if you look at these kids working together as teams, with differing abilities and at different levels, pulling together as a group. It is just outstanding," Buggs said.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Norm Fisher from Eden.

WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com

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