What better way to celebrate Earth Day than spending time in the beautiful hiking trails at the Marianist Environmental Education Center. CJ students and 7th grade students from Bishop Leibold School cleared away invasive plants that were overtaking the natural vegetation. The project was part of an overall effort to bring Global Youth Service Day to Dayton through a collaborative United Way initiative, coordinated by representatives from Chaminade Julienne, University of Dayton, Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Social Services, among others.
Kelli Kinnear, ministry and service director at CJ, decided to use this service project as an outreach to area grade schools, while providing CJ students the opportunity to be leaders to younger students. She was pleased with the response from Bishop Leibold. "The principal, Paul Beyerle, knows all about the meaning of service. He has an appreciation for what we accomplish with our service program at CJ.
"The Leibold students were great. They were comfortable with the experience," Kinnear said. "They were out on the trails; it was a beautiful day. The kids had a great time. The coordinator at MEEC said that he was very impressed by how much we had accomplished. We ended our time there with a short prayer service led by Sister Leanne Jablonski."
Back at CJ, the students and their families were treated to a pizza dinner and had the opportunity to learn more about Chaminade Julienne. Kinnear believes that because this was a good experience for all involved, it will pave the way for future service projects where grade school and CJ students work side-by-side, enabling younger students to learn more about CJ's approach to serving others.