Janesville45°

Kids volunteer to help for Youth Service Day

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Ted Sullivan
May 1, 2011
— While cleaning the historic Emerald Grove Cemetery on Saturday, Josefin Kohler was chatting on her cell phone, trying to reschedule her hair appointment for prom.

“I had it in the morning, and then I changed it so I can do this,” the Clinton High School senior said.


Many teens wouldn’t give up beauty appointments, hanging with friends or dress fittings on one of the most important days of their youth, but Kohler figured she could spare her morning to help her community.


She was one of about 450 kids volunteering for Youth Service Day in Rock County. Kids countywide volunteered for nearly 15 different service projects, including cleaning parks, the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds and historical sites.


The United Way of North Rock County and the Volunteer Network has coordinated Youth Service Day for 12 years. Volunteer projects are done in Janesville, Milton, Evansville, Beloit and surrounding areas.


Kohler and 30 other kids from the La Prairie and Bradford 4-H clubs helped clear sticks, leaves and garbage out of the cemetery. The kids clean the cemetery annually for a service project.


Tamie Waller, a 4-H leader, said the kids worked hard and stayed on task.


“Some people showed up early because there are soccer games, baseball games and other things to do,” she said.


D.J. Waller, a Clinton Middle School student, said his grandparents are buried in the cemetery, giving him a connection to the volunteer work. He said it was important to help.


“It feels good because you’re doing something good for the cemetery,” he said.


Garrett Pass, a Clinton Middle School student, said he also has loved ones buried in the cemetery. He said cleaning the cemetery was a way to honor them.


“It helps make it look better,” he said.


Although it was windy for raking leaves, the kids were able to pile yard waste on a tarp and tug it to a pile, which will eventually be burned. A teen driving a mower with a trailer hauled away sticks and branches.


Kohler, a foreign exchange student from Germany, said she would have her hair done after working all morning.


She said it felt good to help, even on the day of her prom.


“I wanted to do it,” she said.



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