EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 27, 2013

North Andover fifth-graders tackle Spring Cleaning project as service to community

By Paul Tennant

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — In North Andover, there’s no such thing as being too young for service to the community.

Tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at North Andover Middle School, every fifth-grader in town is expected to participate in the first annual Spring Cleaning community service outreach.

The young volunteers — with help from their parents — will receive and sort donations of apparel, which will be sent either to the Community Giving Tree in Boxford or Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill.

If you have extra cans of food — or if you’re inspired to go out and buy some for a charitable cause — you can drop them off at the middle school. The fifth-graders and their parents will bring the edible donations to the local People’s Pantry.

The fifth-graders also ask that people search their closets for DVD movies, card and picnic tables and skateboard helmets. These will be donated to the Joseph N. Hermann Youth Center.

This is the first time the fifth-graders from each elementary school — Atkinson, Franklin, Kittredge, Sargent and Thomson — have teamed up to organize a districtwide service effort, according to Natalie Howard, a member of the Sargent PTO who is coordinating the project.

Howard credited Melissa Martin, president of the Sargent PTO, with thinking up the idea.

“This is a chance for all of the fifth-graders to come together to do something wonderful for the community while meeting and making new friends prior to entering North Andover Middle School,” she said. Performing service for the less fortunate will encourage the kids “think about the bigger world.”

“We have since added a ‘change’ collection for the One Fund charity set up to support those impacted by the Boston Marathon bombings. The fifth graders will collect spare change from people as they drop off their items,” Howard said.

Besides Howard, other parents working on the first annual Spring Cleaning are Barbara Whidden, Sargent School; Karen Burke D’Agostino, Nadie Levin and Heather Abourjaily, Franklin; Christine Gaede and Stacy Baron, Atkinson; Kate Garvin Rozzi, Thomson; and Bonnie Silveria and Amy Mastromonaco, Kittredge.

“This exemplifies what we’re trying to achieve,” Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson said. It’s all part of building a”respectful” community, he said, noting that the North Andover schools are committed to RAISE — respect, achievement, inclusion, service and empathy — values.