At Marette Mollet’s one-story home in a quiet Greenwood neighborhood, seven Center Grove High School students were busy working.
The students pulled weeds, cleaned gutters and mowed the lawn.
One of the students trimmed an unruly hedge into a circle. Others took shovels to clear off dirt and grass from the driveway.
Patrick Brickley, 16, was on a ladder cleaning a gutter.
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“I like doing outside work,” he said.
The help is much appreciated, said Mollet, who has lived in the home for 15 years. She came outside to offer the students a belated breakfast of donuts.
“They work so hard,” she said. “They are such good kids.”
The cleaning around her yard and home will make it look nice for the fall, Mollet said.
Students have come to her home to assist her for the past several years as part of a nearly two-decade tradition of community service.
More than 600 Center Grove High School students took part in the 19th annual Center Grove Day of Caring. During the annual event, high school juniors go out to locations throughout the county for volunteer projects. The students left the high school at 9 a.m. to work for several hours on projects everywhere from Indianapolis to Trafalgar.
The students worked between the bookshelves of the Johnson County Public Library, all throughout a historic house north of downtown Franklin and in 43 other locations in Johnson County and the surrounding area.
Those projects included yard-work, cleaning, painting and organizing.
The United Way of Johnson County has partnered with the high school since 2000, helping connect the students with organizations that need assistance and can provide an appropriate volunteer opportunity.
“It is important in our community to make sure our youth of today understand about giving back to the community,” United Way of Johnson County Executive Director Nancy Lohr Plake said.
While being able to get out of classes for a morning is nice, the students also talked about the chance to give back to the community.
Miranda Bowen had several places to choose from and decided on Mollet’s house because of the experiences she has had with an elderly neighbor.
She got her day started pulling weeds in Mollet’s front yard.
“I know it means a lot to people who can’t or don’t have the ability to do it,” Bowen said.
At the White River branch of Johnson County Library Public, students were cleaning audio book and movie cases and sorting them on shelves.
Morgan Moss, 17, was happy to be volunteering at the library, she said.
“It’s great to have the kids get introduced and see how the library works,” Adult and Teen Services Librarian Erin Kirchhoff said.
Eric Nitiss, 16, was preparing magazines to go on stands.
“It feels good to be helping people around the community,” he said.
All the students’ work makes the library experience better for patrons, Kirchhoff said.
Outside Girls Inc. in Franklin, students were raking leaves, sweeping sidewalks and cleaning windows.
Garret Hill, 17, who was cleaning windows, said he made sure to get outside.
“It is always good to give back,” he said. “It is cool the school gives us the chance to come do this.”
On the inside of Girls Inc., students were working through a list of a dozen items they had to do.
“It’s a lot of fun, giving back,” said Shelby Harris, 17.
Her work Tuesday morning included raking, sweeping and wiping down wood panels and railings.
Center Grove High School business teacher Tracy Buck, who was supervising the students, said she was proud of how involved and enthusiastic they were about the work.
With so much going on at Girls Inc., it is hard to find time to do a deep cleaning, Girls Inc. of Johnson County chief executive officer Sonya Ware-Meguiar said.
“We’re happy to have them,” she said.