COLORADO SPRINGS — The power in volunteering goes a long way in helping the community, and on Monday in Colorado Springs, dozens of people put in the hours to help out at some local schools.
Volunteers with Pikes Peak United Way got their hands a little dirty and helped out with a few outdoor projects at Centennial Elementary School and Sierra High School. They also had some help from staff who work for El Paso County departments.
At the elementary school, they helped out with projects like landscaping, beautification, and building an outdoor classroom. Today was an example of how communities are powered by volunteers.
"Today is United Way's Day of Action across America. There are 1,000 United Way's doing service projects in their communities," said Elizabeth Quevedo, director of community impact at Pikes Peak United Way. For the local efforts, "it's really making this area a nicer place for students to come and learn and grow."
Around 9 o'clock Monday morning, about 75 volunteers had an early morning wake up call to lend a helping hand, including Briley Steinman.
"I started raking rocks for the classroom, and then we started putting stumps down where all the kids will be sitting for the outdoor classroom," said Steinman, a 14-year-old volunteer. "It's a little bit of an eye opener for me, just to be able to see other situations and where I can help out. I like helping the community, and it feels really good knowing I can help."
More than 1,700 volunteers help with Pikes Peak United Way throughout the year. Today, nearly 60 of the volunteers work with El Paso County.
"I'll tell ya, isnt this wonderful? This is what our community is about. Employees from El Paso County just wanting to help out," said Stan VanderWerf, county commissioner who serves district three.
He mentioned this is one of the county's efforts to volunteer during the summer as employees return to work.
"We're having fun together as a team of employees. They've come out of COVID, they're energized, and they're ready to go do some great work for the community. It's fantastic to see everyone here, they're all happy and having a good time," said Commissioner VanderWerf.
Different county departments were making an impact today, like public works, the health department, public information officers, administrative teams and even elected officials.
"I would encourage others to do the same, right? Communities are great when we help each other out," said VanderWerf.
Volunteers were at Centennial Elementary School for about three hours in the morning. After they finished work there, they headed over to Sierra High School, where they helped with landscaping and painting projects.
Pikes Peak United Way also helps with free food distributions throughout the year. They're also helping with a backpack bash before the upcoming school year, which provides school supplies for thousands of families in need in El Paso County.
For more information about the organization or how to get involved, click here.