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Fall Cleanup Leaves Path of Kindness

Fall is a beautiful time of year as leaves descend from the trees, but it can also be a lot of work. That’s why students from Taylor Preparatory High School in Taylor, Michigan, set out to lighten the load for local seniors.

They recently took part in the annual service project “Make a Senior Smile Day.” The event started as an annual leaf cleanup back in 2016 and has since evolved into a day that homeowners and volunteers look forward to each year.

Athletic Director Ronald Pummill and Scheduling Registrar Eboni Gill headed up the event, joining a team of student volunteers who were on a mission to help local seniors get their yards prepped and ready for winter. Gill worked with the local senior center to identify those who needed help the most. Then, volunteers got to work, equipped with rakes, gloves, and plenty of bags.  

The project was impressive, as volunteers cleaned up three large yards, removing more than 80 bags of leaves.

“We have our school store, and they helped out by donating gloves, bags, and more. It's a community effort,” Pummell shared. “We went to Home Depot to get everything else we needed, and it worked out really well."

Pummell said one of the best parts of the project was interacting with the homeowners, including one couple they had helped in years past.

"They were so excited. They brought snacks and water for the kids, expressing gratitude for our efforts. It was super cool to see people looking forward to seeing us again," he exclaimed.

The seniors weren’t the only ones smiling. The hard-working students experienced firsthand the impact of their service.

"I think it gives them a different view and a different perspective. It feels good, even though it's hard work,” said Pummell. “To see the smiling faces and the impact we can make, especially for our students, is super cool."

He explained that the project aligned perfectly with the Moral Focus virtue for November: gratitude. "It's been our focus the whole month to start the day with a gratitude journal. The event emphasizes being thankful and grateful. When you are giving, it changes your mindset entirely.”

Events like this have helped Taylor Prep outperform the local district. Pummell hopes by getting the word out, more students will be inspired to join future projects. "To actually put it into action and see how much joy the students can spread—that puts into perspective how much we do have and how nice it is to give back when you're in a position to do so," Pummell emphasized.

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About Taylor Preparatory High School 
Taylor Preparatory High School is a tuition-free, public charter school in Taylor, Michigan, serving students in ninth through 12th grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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