The Northshore School District (NSD) will be hosting its 11th Community Serve Day on Aug. 25.
Community Serve Day is a collaborative effort between local churches, school districts, PTSA’s, nonprofits and businesses that mobilize as one for the community.
The Community Serve Day partnership started in the fall of 2008 when members of Northshore Baptist Church — now Northshore Community Church — worked on outdoor projects at Woodmoor Elementary and Northshore Junior High. The following year, Eastside Foursquare Church and Overlake Christian Church joined the effort and it expanded to four schools served on Aug. 15, 2009.
Over the years, the number of schools served by Community Serve Day has continued to grow. The event, now held in August each year, has expanded to include helping teachers set up their classrooms for the start of the school year.
With the churches only able to provide a finite number of volunteers, the Community Serve Day organizing team started reaching out to the PTAs of schools wanting to participate in the event, with the hope to recruit enough volunteers to complete the requested projects at their schools.
Many of the site leaders include some of the PTA leadership, which has increased this partnership. Many PTSAs also provide snacks and lunch in addition to the supplies provided to each site leader by Northshore Community Church.
In 2018, NSD had more than 2,200 volunteers, which included Northshore families, church members and other community members.
In addition to all of the volunteers, Natalie Campbell, the event’s partnerships and volunteer coordinator, said Community Serve Day would not be a success without the support from the Northshore grounds crew who spend weeks leading up to the event distributing mulch, play chip and gravel to each school site. The week following Community Serve Day, the grounds crew remove all garden debris piled up by the volunteers; some schools had three plus truckloads of debris removed.
Today, Community Serve Day has grown into a strong partnership between the Northshore Community Church and NSD. This year, NSD has 26 schools participating.
To ensure a successful start, NSD and Northshore Community Church increase participating schools by two or three every year. Some of the projects planned this include: re-painting black tops; improving green spaces, including planting, spreading mulch and play chip; and building garden beds, classroom set-up, and more.
“Each year, Community Serve Day provides an opportunity for volunteers across Northshore to come together to help schools get ready for the first day of school,” Campbell said. “Every task from decorating bulletin boards, wiping down desks and chairs, organizing library books or the larger outside projects, ensures the students, teachers and school administrators return to an environment that sets their school year up for success.”
This year’s Community Serve Day is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Although we have many volunteers signed up, we are still looking for over 800 volunteers across the two school districts,” Campbell said.
Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for a school near them online at https://www.communityserveday.org/signup/.