I ❤️ Steamboat initiative cleans up and helps out | SteamboatToday.com

I ❤️ Steamboat initiative cleans up and helps out

About 50 middle and high school students came to landscape around the Steamboat Springs High School property, pulling weeds and cleaning up. (Courtesy photo)

Steamboat Springs is getting “a facelift,” thanks in part to the Steamboat Christian Center’s monthlong initiative, I ❤️ Steamboat.

Volunteers will work in four different areas — schools, nonprofits, neighbors and first responders/hospital workers — to offer assistance with tasks like landscaping, cleaning, prepping schools, writing letters of thanks and even offering a full day of free food to hospital workers.

Jeff Sublett, community outreach director for the Steamboat Christian Center, said that the church used to do a “neighbor day” each year when volunteers helped neighbors in the community for one day.

“We wanted to make a bigger impact this year,” Sublett said. “Everyone has had to endure a lot over the past year and a half, and we want to help and make a difference.”

Sublett currently has around 300 volunteers working at more than 20 locations over the course of the month. The initiative started at the schools with around 80 volunteers working to clean up and landscape Soda Creek Elementary, Strawberry Park Elementary, the middle school and the high school.

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Students wear branded shirts while cleaning up locations as part of the I ❤️ Steamboat initiative. (Courtesy photo)

Shawn Zwak volunteered at Strawberry Park, clearing weeds and spreading mulch, working to get the school ready for incoming students.

“I wanted to be a part of the community and help out, especially right now with so few workers currently available,” he said. “It’s great for the kids to have a nicer place to go when they start school, and helping the community is always fun and rewarding. It’s easy work, but for some people, it makes a difference.”

Other tasks during school week had kids writing letters to teachers, stuffing backpacks and stocking the shelves of the new library at the Sleeping Giant School.

Dennis Alt, assistant principal of the high school, said that about 50 middle and high school students came to landscape around the high school property, pulling weeds and cleaning up.

The I ❤️ Steamboat initiative has around 300 volunteers working at over 20 locations over the course of the month. (Courtesy photo)

“It definitely makes a difference for the students and encourages them to be proud of their school,” he said. “When things like this are done correctly, you don’t even notice it, but when they’re not done at all, you do.”

He noted that the high school had been short a custodial member for several months, so some tasks are hard to keep up with; having the volunteers help out got everything done before students returned to school.

Nonprofit week began Aug. 22, with volunteers working at various nonprofits throughout town, including Selah, CAYA, The Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat Springs, Sk8 Church, Horizons and more.

During neighbor week, which will begin Wednesday, volunteers will be at Casey’s Pond sanding, painting and staining fences and patio furniture. They will also be offering free car washes to the community.

The last week, first responders week, will see kids writing letters of thanks to first responders, providing them with snacks and even offering a full day of free meals at the hospital cafeteria for all staff.

“Doctors and nurses got a lot of love last year, and we want to continue to show our appreciation,” Sublett said.

Volunteer days and positions were split up into smaller groups with church members signing up online for the group that they wanted to volunteer with. Some groups were specifically for young adults, some were for children and many were for anyone — but almost all of the groups are currently full.

“We want to help the community with no strings attached,” Sublett said. “When people get together and do something for other people, it really helps you — it helps you value yourself and brings happiness to yourself when you serve other people.”

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