WELLINGTON — Wellington was awash in a sea of people wearing bright orange T-shirts on Tuesday wielding landscaping tools, paint brushes and wash rags.
It was the annual Wellington Community Service Day in which students, faculty and community volunteers help spruce up the village.
Wellington High School Principal Tina Drake said the day had the most locations — 43, to be precise — slated for work since it first started in 2011. The teams also were larger this year; about 300 people compared with last year’s 286.
Groups spread out in the village to work at places like Town Hall, Findley State Park and many residents in need of volunteer work. Students moved fertilizer, cleaned flowerbeds, picked up trash, cleaned police cruisers and washed cars.
Drake said she receives calls from residents as early as September, requesting to be included in the service day. What’s even better was that Drake received more residents asking for service, something she’s wanted to see.
“It’s great because we’re now servicing more residents than when we started, and that’s been my goal all along to help residents in their homes than organizations and businesses,” she said.
The students started the day at the Patricia Lindley Center for the Performing Arts. Speaker Stephen Sroka talked about the power of one and the power of many, focusing on how it’s the right thing to do to help others. After the presentation, the volunteers fanned out to work 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Drake said the event is a symbiotic relationship between residents, students, organizations and businesses to help improve the community as well as connecting with those who live in it.
Wellington High senior Parker Adler was with a group of students washing cars in the parking lot of Wellington Village Market on North Main Street.
“You get to talk to a lot of different people,” Parker said. “You’re usually put in groups you don’t usually talk to a lot, so there’s a lot of different variety of characters. It’s really fun, it gets you out of your shell.”
Students are required to do community service for graduation, and the Community Service Day helps achieve that mandate.
Sophomore Jenna Krakomperger shoveled mulch at the Wellington Village fire station. She said she enjoys Community Service Day because students go to new places in the community that they may only know of from passing by.
“I guess I haven’t really spent much time around the Town Hall before, but obviously you drive past it every day because it’s in the middle of town, but you really get to be hands-on with the city and people, and it saves them time to do it later,” she said.
At a Victorian home owned by Tim and Leslie Simonson on North Main Street, a group of students helped paint a fence, pulled weeds in the yard and garden as well as helped with other landscaping duties.
The couple, who have lived in the home for 42 years, welcomed the assistance and the company. They laid out a spread of food for the volunteers with sloppy joes, salad, scalloped potatoes and chips.
“I think anybody working hard deserves a meal,” Leslie Simonson said. “We’ve always enjoyed being involved in the community, and I think this is good for them and it’s good for us.”
On Courtland Street, Delores and Peter Avery had the help of another group of students. As senior citizens, Delores Avery said she and her husband, who often requires a wheelchair, don’t always have the ability to do their yard work. Community Service Day is a bigger help than most people know for her.
“I don’t think we could remain in our house if we hadn’t had situations like this since we have one of the larger lots in town, and it gets to be (too) much when you’re getting close to 80,” she said.
Drake said she likes that the students see the benefits they provide with their help.
“To actually see the impact they have on the homeowners and how desperately they’re needed is extremely important,” she said.