‘Give Back, Get Credit:’ Iowa School Offers Gym Credits for Doing Yard Work for Elderly, Disabled
‘Grab a rake and get gym credits – and while you’re at, it become an overall better human being!’ Teachers in eastern Iowa are motivating students to be active and compassionate by offering gym credits for helping the elderly and disabled with yard work and other outside chores.
This inspiring school and community initiative is the brainchild of the Alternative Learning Center in Dubuque, Iowa. It gets kids moving and gets them outside to enjoy some fresh air while doing yard work for people who are unable do it themselves.
According to Tim Hitzler, a teacher at the Alternative Learning Center, he accompanies the students who partake in “raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting grass, cleaning gutters.” He points out that overall it “just depends on what they need.”
Hitzler added that the students’ takeaway from the initiative is that they learn life lessons about helping the community and gain “something positive from the experience.” He also points out that initially, it takes a little boost to get the kids excited, but that they quickly come around.
“The students aren’t typically too excited at the beginning but once they get involved and start doing the yard work they become more motivated,” Hitzler explained. “What they really like is helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person.” They also like seeing “the finished product of their work.”