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Saints help others with Day of Caring

About 250 students and 30 faculty members from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy recently fanned out across the area to make a difference with more than a dozen nonprofit organizations and community areas.

The Saints spent April 12 helping at different areas, including planting trees at Bennett’s Creek Park, building oyster cages for Chesapeake Bay Foundation, cleaning horse stalls at Equi-Kids, sorting items for the ForKids Good Mojo Thrift Store and more.

“Character has always been an essential element of a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy education,” school spokeswoman Karen Schompert said. “Early on, students learn the meaning of honor and respect for self and others. They participate in community service projects to connect what they are learning in the classroom to the real world while building leadership, collaboration and communication skills.”

The annual event, known as the Day of Caring, includes students in grades nine through 12.

Senior Sarah Christiansen said she enjoys participating in the event.

“That day is one of the things I look forward to most each year,” she said. “I always feel like I did something really helpful that day.”

Christiansen said her group painted buildings and helped prepare for summer camp at Camp Darden, a Girl Scout camp in Southampton County.

“I think it’s really important for kids to get a sense of understanding why it’s helpful to do things you wouldn’t normally do and spend a day not thinking about yourself and thinking about the betterment of your community,” Christiansen said.

In past years, Christiansen has helped plant oysters, clean up community centers and organize the ForKids food pantry.

Other groups this year visited the Suffolk Humane Society to organize, clean and socialize pets; YMCA Camp Arrowhead to paint the pavilion and clean activity areas; Spikes K9 fund to paint and perform maintenance on the K9 training course; Norfolk Botanical Gardens to clean up the gardens; and more.

Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve, Lake Prince Woods, East Suffolk Recreation Center, the American Cancer Society and the Isle of Wight Animal Shelter also benefited from the students’ work this year.

“Service learning also allows students to explore their values and beliefs, to learn about social issues and to grow their understanding of diverse cultures and communities,” Schompert said.