Riverview School District students take great pride in their communities.
That’s the message Oakmont and Verona youths delivered earlier this month as part of the second annual Give Back Day.
Verner students cleaned up litter, made centerpieces for community dinners at United Methodist Church, crafted a lending library to offer free books to people and planted sunflowers at the borough building.
“This was a very exciting day for us,” Verner Elementary Principal Mary Ann Plance said. “In January, we had a reflection day where each grade level had to think about what they could do and ways they could give back to the community of Verona.”
Tenth Street Elementary students made cards and collected donations to be sent to soldiers through the nonprofit Military Connections. They also collected food and decorated bags for distribution through Riverview Community Action Corp. and had a read-a-thon to raise money for the Oakmont Carnegie Library. Fourth-graders visited residents at the Presbyterian Senior Care homes.
“The kids were a little slow to warm up, but once they got going they had a great time,” fourth-grade teacher Connie Lowe said. “Some kids were so natural with interacting and talking. They played ball and ring toss and colored. Last year, we decorated bags and donated those to Meals on Wheels. We did not go out last year. We stayed and did something here and delivered.”
High school students weeded along Allegheny River Boulevard with the Garden Club of Oakmont.
“I think it’s a great thing to have our elementary students interacting with public servants in a controlled classroom environment where the kids are comfortable,” Oakmont Mayor Christopher Whaley said. “It starts building relationships early on, which can eliminate any fears they might have.”
District spokeswoman Carrie DelRosso said it is important for students to venture out and get away from their computer and phone screens.
“Now that everything is technological and everyone sees stuff on social media, it’s important for the community to see the students in the district are getting hands-on work and physically doing stuff to help the community,” she said.
Verner students also held a canned food drive for the food pantry at Verona Methodist Church.
“We made little bags so they could go and get their food and use our bags to carry with,” Verner first-grader Lucia Verzinskie said. “It was fun, too.”
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367.