Students at the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in Dubuque, Iowa, can now receive physical education credit when they help senior citizens or […]
Students at the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in Dubuque, Iowa, can now receive physical education credit when they help senior citizens or people with disabilities with their landscaping needs. But those receiving help with their landscaping aren’t the only ones who benefit.
The school itself provides an alternative setting for junior and senior high school students who have struggled to succeed at more traditional schools.
These students have been identified as in danger of dropping out of school entirely. At ALC, they can focus on project-based and independent learning opportunities designed to get them back on the path toward graduation.
The landscaping program, in particular, has proven beneficial both for the students and the community. It has helped in building relationships, too, resulting in social invitations to the students from those they are working for. The kids do whatever homeowners need for about two hours a day during the last few school weeks, including raking, pulling weeds, cleaning gutters, cutting bamboo — even tending to chicken coops.
Typical yardwork activities — such as mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, raking leaves, chopping firewood and weeding the garden — can all offer a significant calorie burn as well as provide the benefits of your average cardio or strength-building workout.
Students can also choose from a number of other activities in order to fulfill their P.E. requirement, such as cleaning up golf courses or a river barge. However, about 29 teens signed up for the service program altogether, with about 12 of those wanting to do yard work specifically.
The program has proven so popular with the students that some of them choose to continue volunteering over the summer.