Big Day of Serving for youth in Yorkville
By Jane Donahue For The Beacon-News September 6, 2012 4:46PM
Yorkville’s Big Day of Serving will be Sept. 15 this year. | Submitted
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Here is a list of a few potential projects set for Yorkville’s Big Day of Serving:
Raintree Park: The work here would focus on the installation of a permeable paver parking lot, the installation of shade trees, and the installation of additional landscaping. This type of parking lot will allow this site to collect and filter rainwater, providing cleaner water for the environment. Shade trees and landscaping will provide needed shade for the park area and beautify the surrounding neighborhood.
Yorkville Public Library: The work at this site consists of trimming and pruning the landscape, cleanup, edging and mulching of all plant beds and tree rings, and the installation of additional decorative stone around the building.
Kendall County Food Pantry: The new facility was purchased by the pantry with a grant but is in need of some exterior work. Services here would include painting the entire outside of the building. Painting this building would not only change the appearance but will lift spirits of those who receive services here.
Beecher Community Center: Services here would include a complete installation of landscape, which includes shrubs and perennials, the edging and mulching of beds and existing trees. This would not only make the building itself more appealing but would help seniors to have a more enjoyable experience in the community.
Kendall County Health and Human Services: Not only does this project include a cleanup of the existing landscape, but it also includes a wellness garden specifically for counseling sessions and staff respite. This would bring a peaceful setting to the building and would create an environment for both physical and mental healing.
Updated: September 7, 2012 7:10PM
Big things are going to happen Sept. 15 in Yorkville. Bill Ziech is betting on it.
“I can’t wait not only to see how the community is renovated but also to see how lives are transformed in this process,” said Ziech, Yorkville’s director of The Big Day of Serving. “Our team of volunteers is hard at work putting together an amazing experience for those who attend The Big Day of Serving.”
The Yorkville event is organized by Group Mission Trips, a national nonprofit organization that has provided almost a quarter of a million teens the opportunity to make a difference in their communities while having fun working with friends and meeting other teens from the area.
“If someone wants to come and be the hands and feet of Jesus that day, they can go online and register,” said Ziech, who is also the director of discipleship at Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Yorkville. “If you are willing to work and get your hands dirty, we have something for you to do.”
Like an episode of reality TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” The Big Day of Serving encourages students to “serve the community and bring help and hope to our citizens in need.” Participants will work on projects such as painting, minor home repairs, landscaping, cleaning and beautifying city parks, planting community gardens, removing graffiti, and cleaning vacant lots.
One project on the agenda will take place at Raintree Park, where volunteers plan to install a permeable paver parking lot and additional landscaping.
“(The Big Day of Serving) brings the community together and shows that people do really truly care and want to help one another,” said Scott Sleezer, Yorkville’s superintendent of parks. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to get involved, and when they go home, maybe they will think a little differently about parks and open spaces in their community.”
It might be called The Big Day of Serving, but for Ziech, work began months ago. After evaluating and prioritizing dozens of community projects, he assembled a team of adult volunteers to ensure the event’s success.
“The adult volunteers are the ones who will pave the way for the participants and their youth groups to do the work that day,” he said. “We have a list of 23 projects lined up, and each site will have project supervisors who will be guiding the youth groups in what to do.”
And while this is Yorkville’s first event, Ziech hopes it’s just a beginning.
“It is such a blessing when we go into a community and to see how their eyes are opened up as they see the transformation take place,” Ziech said. “This is not a one and done thing for us. We hope to do this year after year.”