While they’ve completed clean ups at 22 public schools and their maiden mission is technically over for now, Work Rallies will be continuing their cause later this week to finish what they started before the start of the new school year.
Lead organiser Angela Young told Bermuda Real that volunteers will be back out again, starting on Thursday, after Whitney Institute asked Work Rallies to help them clear out a container on the school grounds. On Friday, a small group of volunteers plan to put the finishing touches to the library at Victor Scott Primary School. And an art teacher at St David’s Primary School has requested help to tidy up their classroom on Saturday.
But after all was said and done this past weekend, more than 500 hours of time for community service had been logged. And plans are underway to keep the momentum going throughout the school year during school breaks.
When contacted by Bermuda Real for the overall wrap up, Ms Young said: “Honestly, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear friend – you know the friendships that withstand time and pick up no matter what.
“I knew we were aiming to complete the Work Rallies by August 31st, in keeping with the pending September 1st work to rule. Then, as the Work Rallies grew in popularity and the demand increased, I decided to extend them to the very end, which was September 10th,” she said.
“Personally, I completed my final Work Rally on Saturday and it felt so odd. I told my team mates jokingly that I’ll be having withdrawals next weekend, but they started that night.
“No more frantic evenings of checking the emails, updating the schedule throughout the day, sending updates to Magic 102.7’s Sherri J and Bermuda Real, as well as our Facebook page; including posting the pictures, ensuring all the necessary forms were completed by the Action Teams – it was a lot of work! But I loved every minute of it because I was doing it for my country. It was an opportunity to serve!”
By the time it was all over she said: “I simply reflected on my first post on Facebook and watched how God moved from the first Work Rally. The outpouring of support from the community, the tears from principals and teachers who were so moved by the generosity of the people and the hugs!
“I’ll never forget seeing MP Lawrence Scott mowing the grass, after going home to get his personal lawn mower! Then there’s the area residents who came with plastic bags containing gloves, cleaning solutions, etc. They came to help – just because. Many of them did not have children in the school we were working on when they came – grown adult kids instead, but they wanted to be a part of the solution not the problem,” Ms Young said.
“Then, other initiatives emerged with communities cutting their over grown hedges along the street, etc. The stories are so vast and I can go on and on. We even had teachers from private schools pitch in, simply because they lived in the neighbourhood.”
Ultimately, she said: “All that’s left to say is I give God thanks. This experience has taught me to trust His word even more, even when the path is not clear.”
And she’s proud of the biggest results along the way, that include having five Work Rallies on a week day and then eight rallies on a Saturday simultaneously.
“Wow! I never would have imagined that,” she said. “It warmed my heart to see BLDC, our first corporate sponsor, who assisted us last Thursday at Clearwater Middle School. Then there’s the truckers, Arthur Pitcher and Paul Wilmot who donated their services. And then we had people like Mr Vernon Daniels, affectionately known as Papa Daniels, who came by on Saturday to assemble a computer desk at Devonshire Pre-School. It came with no instructions but he quickly completed it and then assembled a mobile cart later.”
She also thanked local companies for donating water and snacks for the volunteers, the Ministers of Education and Public Works, with a special thank you to the Reverend Nicholas Tweed for allowing Work Rallies to host their weekly meetings at St Paul Centennial Hall at no charge.
And as a result of their presence on social media, hardly a day goes by without someone stopping her to express their gratitude.
Said Ms Young: “Now folks see me on the street and simply thank me for doing the Work Rallies and I’m just humbled and honoured to serve.”
- Featured Top Photo: Alshia Lugo and her children Christen & Christia Lugo-Elibox and Mr Stephen Richardson at St David’s Primary School
- Photos Courtesy of Work Rallies