St. Louis Public Schools to benefit from annual volunteer activity​

Fresh off a summer of pool parties and video games, the Washington University Class of 2009 will get to work as soon as they step onto campus.

More than 1,000 University students, mainly newly arrived freshmen, will volunteer their time from 1-4 p.m. Sept. 3 to paint, landscape, clean and beautify 11 St. Louis public schools to make the new school year more enjoyable for students and their teachers.

It’s all part of the seventh annual Service First, an initiative that introduces first-year University students to community service in the St. Louis area.

This year’s projects, as part of the St. Louis Public Schools’ “Educating the Future” initiative, will range from painting indoor and outdoor murals and painting activities and maps on the playground, to creating bulletin boards and preparing classrooms.

“This is such a wonderful event,” said Stephanie Kurtzman, director of Community Service and manager of Service First. “It’s a great way for our incoming freshmen to get to know each other and to make a meaningful contribution to the community in which they will live for the next four years. Since its inception, Service First has become very popular with both students and the schools we are able to help.

Upon returning to the University after a day of work, students will participate in a Community Service Fair and barbecue featuring more than 30 student-run organizations that focus on community service. It allows students to learn more about opportunities in which to get involved during their time at college.

Service First is co-sponsored this year by Sherwin-Williams, The Women’s Society of Washington University, Student Union, Congress of the South 40 and St. Louis Public Schools, among others.

Service First began in 1999 with about 600 student volunteers helping to clean and beautify scenic trails. It has grown and flourished every year since.

Schools to be visited this year are Adams, Bryan Hill, Clark, Cote Brilliante, Dewey, Farragut, Hickey, Humboldt, Madison/Waring, Roosevelt, and Washington/Euclid.

For more information, call Kurtzman at (314) 935-5066.