Chillicothe Middle School chosen for improvements
For the fourth consecutive summer, the Chillicothe Ministerial Alliance and the Chillicothe R-2 School District are teaming up to make some much needed improvements.
The ONE Project began in 2010, the brainchild of Tim Hearn, former youth pastor of First Baptist Church in Chillicothe. Current ONE Project Director Stephanie Hoel said the goal of the project is to assist the R-2 district with the cost and manpower needed to make improvements to whichever school is chosen.
"The Ministerial Alliance picks a focus school each summer that we go in and we paint, we repair, we landscape," Hoel said. "We figure out, according to the principal, what needs to be done in the particular school. We work on raising money for the project. We arrange the volunteers, the supplies and we go in and try to make the school better than when we started."
Hoel said while the district's vision for the future includes constructing new buildings and creating a campus of schools near the new high school and athletic complex, it is important to preserve the current buildings for the time being.
"We need to maintain what we have," Hoel said. "We want good teachers and we want good leaders, principals and superintendents. To have that happen, we have to maintain what we have. I think this community gets that, and they jump on board and take care of it."
Previous ONE Project focus schools include Central, Dewey and Field Elementary. Hoel said the ONE Project's focus school for 2013 and 2014 is Chillicothe Middle School.
"We kind of got a late start this year, so the Middle School will be on a two-year program," Hoel explained. "We're painting, repairing and organizing some things there, doing some outside work, as well. Next year, we're hoping to raise a lot more money and we'll have a little bit more time so we can replace the carpet in the library."
Hoel said the ONE Project experienced great community support during its first three summers. She is hopeful that support will continue to grow.
"Our community is really good about supporting whatever needs to be supported," Hoel said. "We have a lot of business support. With our food, for instance, we have to feed our volunteers because we're there all day. We've had Hy-Vee donate food. Piggly Wiggly usually donates food. Pizza Hut and Dominoes donate pizza. We've had McDonald's support us before. Even the church ladies will get together and make sandwiches. I know Lowe's and Diamond Vogel both are giving us supplies and paint. Other businesses and foundations will give us money. We've also had some private donors, as well."
This year's ONE Project work day is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 2. Work will begin at 8 a.m. Hoel said all volunteers are welcome.
"One of the most frequently asked questions is 'Can I do it?' The answer is, of course, sure," Hoel said. "A lot of people have children that want to come help. We just ask that if they're 12 and older, they're more than welcome to come help. If they're younger than 12, they need to be with a parent or grandparent.
Hoel said volunteers should come with a good attitude and work ethic.
"You are going to work hard that day," Hoel said. "You're going to do some manual labor. Come prepared to sweat, get dirty and not look pretty when you go home."
Hoel said those volunteers who may not be able to do as much physical labor are still very helpful to the work day operations.
"There are people who maybe can't do manual labor because of a disability or age. That doesn't mean there's not anything for them to do," Hoel said. "They can work registration desks or paint brush cleaning stations. There's some things that don't require a lot of hard work, but a lot of responsibility."
In previous years, volunteers received T-shirts. Hoel said there will not be T-shirts for volunteers this year, so workers are encouraged to wear clothes they don't mind getting dirty.
Those wishing to volunteer are encouraged to register in advance of the Aug. 2 workday by contacting Stephanie Hoel by phone at 660-707-0238 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those wishing to donate monetarily should make checks out to ONE Project and mail them to First Christian Church, 900 Jackson Street, Chillicothe, MO 64601.