By Woodrow Polston
A group of thoughtful volunteers met last Friday at the Van-Far Elementary School to help brighten up the school grounds. They are members of the St. John Lutheran Women’s Guild of Vandalia.
Earlier this year, they participated in an outreach called “Shine” when they visited Tri-County Care Center and placed handmade decorative wreaths around the facility.
The outreach work is typically done on an annual basis. In 2021, the Shine event had more than 130 groups including more than 5,000 people who were involved with the effort in their communities. The Lutheran Church Extension Fund was the lead sponsor for the outreach events. Rod’s Sports and Apparel provided green T-shirts with the word “Shine” on them for all the participants to wear during the event. Karen Morris, one of the volunteers, said that the Lutheran Church typically designates the annual outreach in the spring.
“The church usually designated the outreach in the spring each year,” said Morris. “This is the first year that our group here in Vandalia has participated in it. Since the event in the spring, we have been putting out feelers to find out who might need assistance with something that our group could work on. We were able to sand and paint three benches at the elementary school and add some flowerpots at the entrance of the school. We felt that it would be beneficial in freeing up time for teachers or school administration that would have otherwise had to do the work,” she added.
With the first day of school right around the corner on Tuesday, Aug. 23, teachers and staff are busy preparing for the new school year. Van-Far Superintendent John Fortney said that they appreciate the help from volunteers.
“We appreciate the help, and we really enjoy seeing the community step up and get involved with the school,” said Fortney. “It really shows the love that the community has for the school district, and these are the kind of interactions that make schools great. We are going to be scheduling a workday to put the new bleachers together for the new field that has just been completed. The fence is being installed this week, and also the lights. But there will be plenty of work to do with getting the bleachers finished,” he added.