Petting a cute black kitten at Wayside Waifs was a pretty good way to start a morning of community service for Domenic Decaro, a seventh grader at Pleasant Ridge Middle School in Overland Park.
It wasn’t until a few minutes later that he and his 11 classmates who had taken the bus early Tuesday morning to the Kansas City animal adoption center would have to start helping doing laundry for the facility.
“It’s really a nice thing to do for the community,” Decaro said. “You need to start with yourself and you can help everyone make the world better.”
The crew at Wayside Waifs was part of more than 500 students from Pleasant Ridge who spread out through the metro to help fulfill the Blue Valley school’s theme this year of “It Starts With You.” It’s the second year for the annual service day.
Other students went to Harvesters to help sort food donations; Ronald McDonald House to pack snack bags; Operation Breakthrough to assemble Birthday Bags for kids, and TurnStyles to help sort donated clothes. There were a dozen places overall benefiting from the seventh and eighth graders.
And back at their school at 165th and Antioch Road, the sixth graders were wrapping gifts, making brownies and cards, and packaging books that will be going to a school in Nigeria. They also were being visited by firefighters and police officers.
Aiden Swartz, another Pleasant Ridge seventh grader, said coming to Wayside Waifs was his favorite way of helping.
“It’s mainly about helping all the animals and helping communities with animals people can’t take care of,” he said.