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Lincoln Rails Students and Staff Skip Class for Community Service

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- More than 400 students and staff are taking Thursday off to do community service.

It’s the first time Lincoln Rails Academy has done a day like this during the school week, usually students are doing community service during breaks outside of school hours.

“During spring break we put in 12 hours at the Meals from the Heartland and that was a great experience because I met people all over Des Moines just doing that,” Asascia Manderson, a ninth grade student, said.

She said every service activity is really a group effort.

“It was actually most of my softball team that went. We went just for fun and we created like bags of meals for people all around the world. And we met a lot of people from like Johnston, Ankeny, Dowling and it was a lot of fun,” Manderson said.

During this full day of service students will be doing activities on campus with ARL, AHeinz57, Joppa, Ronald McDonald House, Central Iowa Shelter and Services and Operation Gratitude and off campus with Blank Park Zoo, Gray’s Lake, Morris, Studebaker, Wright, Jackson and Lovejoy elementary schools, and the South Suburban YMCA.

“My group is going to do two things first we’re going to go to Gray’s Lake and we’re going to make Gray’s Lake look beautiful again. You know, picking up trash, helping the plants and pulling up weeds. And then we are going to be helping the homeless by writing letters to them and building scarves,” Manderson said.

She said service is more than a one day activity for her.

“Service will always be a part of me throughout my whole life even when I’m done with high school and college. And just to put myself out there and do stuff that other people aren’t willing to do,” Manderson said.

Another student, Preston Huberty, said he agrees and it is more than just a resume builder.

“It makes you feel a lot better when you go. When you have to use the bike trails and you see trash, you being able to go clean that up it is very nice and it does give you a better heart,” Huberty said.

He added that doing service at a young age provides a role model example for others.

“It gives a better example. When you’re in high school and everyone says little kids, elementary kids look up to you,” Huberty said.