Written by guest writer Shaili Shouche, Avenue Intern and incoming senior at Glenda Dawson High School.
Nature plays a crucial, yet often underestimated, role in improving children’s psychological and physical well-being. On a broader spectrum, nature can impact student learning in numerous diverse ways, as it holds significance in how school-age children engage in the classroom, how they interact with those around them, and even how long they are able to concentrate. Spending time outdoors helps to restore a child’s attention, subsequently allowing them greater focus in the classroom. In addition, a green space or park area helps promote self-discipline in children. Providing such an environment to students creates a strong foundation for children to develop life-long skills as well as promotes greater educational abilities.
In order to do just that for local school children, this Earth Day, Avenue partnered with Janowski Elementary’s Wraparound Specialist, Mrs. Dana Tritico, to execute a successful cleanup event at Janowski Elementary’s Spark Park. Together, school parents and students, Avenue volunteers and staff, as well as HISD volunteers came together to commemorate Earth Day 2021 and help beautify the school’s local park.
Cooperatively, the team carried out various tasks, from painting the two playgrounds in the school’s Spark Park, to planting 6 trees and cleaning up the school’s habitat zone. In addition, an educational aspect was included, as over 100 students of various grade levels at Janowski Elementary participated in Earth Day learning activities facilitated by volunteers.
The Avenue team and its many volunteers, including the students of Janowski Elementary, were able to successfully beautify the school’s nearby Spark Park while simultaneously teaching students the importance of the Earth on this year’s Earth Day. The work done by these community members are a building block for students today and in the future to benefit in their life long education through a safe and beautiful nature area.
One attendee of the cleanup, Avenue community volunteer Josefina Sandoval, says, “During the event I was part of the team who was painting one of the playgrounds in the Spark Park. Thank you Avenue for thinking of beautifying our neighborhood school (Janowski Elementary) where my children attend, and very happy to serve as a volunteer during the event. Thanks to Avenue and our hard work, the Spark Park now looks so beautiful.