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"I hope it becomes a ripple effect:" Jenkins Middle School student creates cleaning crew to help janitorial staff

Posted at 12:10 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 23:20:12-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Jenkins Middle School students are stepping up to help their janitorial staff.

Over fifty students volunteered to be a part of a student-led cleaning crew in charge of cleaning the cafeteria and sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade wings.

" I started off by emailing Principal Joiner about the idea. I prepared an entire PowerPoint presentation and showed it to him. He said it was an amazing idea," said Madison May.

After getting permission from the principal, May quickly got to work gathering volunteers for her crew.

"I started off by getting a sign-up sheet. When I was in class, at lunch, or any time I had, I would go up to people and kind of ask them about it. It was a mix between no thank you or I would love to," said May.

She had over fifty students sign up, prompting her to create a waiting list.

"They realized that even though janitors have the job as a custodial team, they are still people and deserve to be treated like human beings," said May. "It really helps them, and I've talked to them and they have expressed how grateful they are. Also, I think it is showing kids a good example of responsibility and leading. It shows them that this is a job, they need to be responsible, and the hard work janitors do cleaning our school."

"It is amazing support. If you were to ask our building maintenance team, they were blown away by number one just that a student would have the vision to want to help and support a need in our building," said Darren Joiner, Principal of Jenkins Middle School. "We take pride in our building and we want our building to look sharp for our kids each and every day. So the fact that our kids want to pitch in and help, says a lot about the culture that we have in our building and the power of one. One person, one idea, one person with Madison launching the idea and asking for support, and then seeing around fifty kids raise their hand and say I want in, I want to help out, unbelievable."

Joiner says they typically have one building maintenance member assigned to each grade level wing and then the assistant building manager will take care of the cafeteria, office areas, and gym.

"When you are down to two people in the evenings, some of those things have to be prioritized. Some of those typical daily tasks become weekly tasks out of necessity," said Joiner.

Both hope this action inspires other school districts to follow their lead.

"I really hope it spreads like wildfire. We have this saying in our building, be extraordinary with the emphasis on extra. Being extraordinary doesn't mean a heroic act, sometimes it means just noticing a problem, identifying a solution, and then doing something about it," said Joiner.

"I hope it becomes a ripple effect," said May. "With all of the things going on in the world, there is still good out there and you just have to find it."