When the Work Rallies initiative started on August 12th at the Southampton Pre-School, a mere 15 volunteers showed up to help. That number swelled to nearly a hundred volunteers this past Saturday, who pitched in all day at three separate public schools.
Angela Young, who kick-started this new initiative, is hoping to double the numbers again this week, as the September 11th school re-opening date draws near. And as that date approaches, more schools have come on board to take advantage of this community project.
She also expressed gratitude and a warm thank you to the increasing number of men, who turned out to do some of the heavy work. Some even decided to make it a father and son experience.
Work crews were stationed at Somerset Primary, Clearwater Middle School and Warwick Pre-School. At the end of the day, just under a hundred volunteers had worked at all three locations.
In part two of this ongoing Bermuda Real series, Ms Young was confident that Work Rallies will “see the numbers growing even more”.
“We’re impressed with the increasing numbers and hopeful that even more volunteers will choose to get on board,” she said. “We had more diversity this time around, people who heard about it from all walks of life. One lady said she told her husband that they weren’t doing anything, so they came, they stayed and they gave.
“At Somerset Primary School we had a group of volunteers who came to help out, who stayed until after 9pm – just amazing! They spent a lot of time and finished the library so the teachers won’t come in to just boxes of books. What happened at Somerset Primary is they removed the carpet and put down tile. So the books were all over the place, and it was very nice that this group did that for them. That’s one huge relief because there were tons of books – over a thousand easily. That was truly a blessing, so I hope the teachers will be happy.”
One parent, who brought her children with her to help out at Prospect Pre-School, said she decided to get on board because “our schools are the foundation of our future”.
Ms Tyesha Barioni, who was accompanied by her two little ones, India and Mason said “I’ve been thinking for some time now about how I could get involved in the community, this was the perfect opportunity.
“My children came along with me because I felt it was important for them to see the community in action. They thoroughly enjoyed it and even though they are young, I feel they will depart from this with a little understanding of the importance of community spirit. As for me, I feel this is just the beginning of my activity in the community.”
At last check, 16 schools out of 36 had come on board. This week Work Rallies will get going at Victor Scott, Elliott Primary, East End Primary and Harrington Sound Primary Schools, in addition to Lagoon Pre-School.
Sandys Middle School is one of the new schools on board. On that note, Ms Young said: “This week shows a lot of where we have grown in the sense that we now have more schools coming on board, which is exciting. And we’re giving volunteers various options, various regions where they can help to get the schools ready for September.”
On the clean up drive last Saturday, she said the volunteers at Warwick Pre-School did a fantastic job.
“They had so many that come out to help in various capacities from cutting the grass to even washing the cots and carrying them back inside, to washing the seats. I mean they really got in – that was awesome.
“We’re hoping that the men will continue to come out this week and support us. We have various times during the day and also in the evening and again on Saturday. So that would be a great push for the next three Saturdays. What we’re looking to do is increase those numbers and get over a hundred people – that is our goal.”
She noted that they would like to see more volunteers come out to help with schools down at the east end, as the workload increases due to more interest. “The east end right now is definitely where we would like to see the numbers grow as well,” she said.
“But I’m excited to say that we even have some dates for September for Work Rallies and I’m really excited about that because we’ve been invited by the Cedar Hill community and the PTA to join forces with them to assist with their clean up at Purvis Primary School. So we have a couple of things happening in the early part of September as well.”