Heritage Park seniors volunteer at Dream Riders

Mar. 18—Heritage Park High School students participated in a school-wide community day on Friday with different grade levels going out to volunteer at local organizations.

The school's morning senior class visited Dream Riders in Philpot to help around the facility, from cleaning saddle pads to replacing name tags on the stalls.

Tanya Lancaster, guidance counselor at Heritage Park, said she thinks it is good for students to give back to the community.

"I think they call get something out of it after they do it," she said. "They don't ever really want to do it at first, but once they get into it, they get excited."

Heritage Park senior Eliza Payne, who helped clean saddle pads, said she believes the community day is a "really good" opportunity for students to help out.

Michael Claycomb, a teacher at Heritage Park, agreed, saying it gets students outside of their comfort zones.

"They are able to experience a new experience," he said. "Nobody wants to do it but once they do it, they're glad they did it."

Senior Joseph O'Bryan said the experience at Dream Riders was a learning experience.

"It allows us to be hands-on and do things we typically wouldn't do," he said. "I think it's always good to give back to your community because if it wasn't for your community, you wouldn't have the things that you have."

Seniors Jasmine Rybicki and Makayla Wedding helped clean areas of the main lobby at Dream Riders.

"It's important to help other people," Rybicki said. "Sometimes it's a lot on people and having an extra hand can help them."

Wedding said volunteer work can be beneficial to those who are in need of assistance while spreading kindness.

"People might see us doing it and decide they want to participate themselves," she said.

Dream Riders volunteer Bonnie Nance said this is the first time the organization has worked with Heritage Park students on a volunteer project.

"They're doing all kinds of jobs that would take our volunteers forever to do but now we can get it done in one day," she said. "It's a big help to us."

Freshmen and sophomores created family engagement packs for students at Heritage Park Preschool, juniors cleaned at the Boys & Girls Club and the afternoon seniors made kindness bags and cards for residents at Heritage Park Senior Living Center.