Students at The Miami Valley School took advantage of the beautiful September weather and dedicated their weekend to volunteering for the annual RiverVibes event by Little Caesar’s Creek.
Sixteen students logged a total of 89 community service hours supporting the two-day event through community service, including cleaning up trash, hauling firewood, building fire rings, sorting recycling out of trash, moving paddleboards, building rock memorials, and preparing spaces to be used for events.
MVS Senior Rachel Balaj organized the students efforts after receiving an email that caught her attention.
“I couldn’t pass it up,” Balaj said. “This project was important for numerous reasons.”
Balaj said the event provided an opportunity to get students outdoors. Some of the participants, she said, let her know it was the first chance they have had to spend significant time outdoors in years.
“It’s important to think about how we prioritize our time as students and how interacting with nature can be healing and connecting,” Balaj said. “Through this event, we were able to see how much trash and garbage we contribute to our sacred environments. After seeing how much trash was on the side of the road and by the river, I know students are going to have greater appreciation for clean spaces and are going to have a better idea of how to properly dispose of waste in the future.”
Balaj said she considered the participation of MVS students a success in that they had a valuable experience, enjoyed the time outdoors and were able to leverage community service hours to help a larger event become a success.
Students at MVS contribute community service throughout the year. Students have a graduation requirement of 20 volunteer hours a year, or 80 throughout their entire career in Upper School.
“The goal of this is to make sure that every single MVS graduate has a greater understanding of what it means to be compassionate,” Balaj said. “And how important community service can be to others and to yourself.”