Clad in bright green shirts, nearly all of Belgrade High School fanned out across town to help everyone from kindergarteners to kittens.
Wednesday afternoon marked the third annual Day of Caring put on by the National Honor Society at Belgrade High School.
NHS President Hannah Squires said students volunteered their time with organizations like the Belgrade Senior Center, Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Career Transitions and God’s Garden among many other causes and groups.
Some high school students picked up trash in parks and ditches around town. Others helped elementary school students enjoy a sunny field day with games in the schoolyard.
The Day of Caring started in the Belgrade Special Events Center with a rally.
“The energy in the events center this morning was so great,” Squires said. “Everyone really wanted to be here. No one was grumbling or complaining.”
After the school rally, students took off for their volunteer projects. At noon, the students headed back to the events center for a pulled pork lunch, lawn volleyball and teacher-versus-student dodge ball.
Though some students said they would use dodge ball as a chance to peg teachers, Squires said the teachers were great at the Day of Caring, working alongside students in each volunteer endeavor.
At Saddle Peak Elementary School, high school students manned game stations for kids. From plastic horseshoes to parachute games, field hockey and Frisbee tossing, children squealed with delight as high school students patiently explained each activity.
Freshman Satara Arthur said working with kids at a mini-obstacle course was a blast. The littlest kids were actually the most attentive, she said.
Rosie Forsythe, another freshman, helped Arthur. She said being outside in the sunshine with energetic kids is the best volunteer project anyone could pick.
“Everyone said Day of Caring is so fun,” Forsythe said. “And they were right.”
As for the kids, a game involving an oversized multi-color ball and hula hoops won rave reviews.
“This field day was so fun,” Fourth grader Jaden said. “My favorite station was F because you get to get hit in the head with a giant ball.”
Fellow fourth grader Brynn said she enjoyed this year’s field day because the games were far more exciting than when she was in third grade.
The best part of the field day, the fourth graders agreed, was being out of school.
Belgrade High School Principal Russ McDaniel supervised students at Saddle Peak Elementary School. He said he was proud of students’ volunteerism throughout the valley.
“The greatest gift in life is the gift of giving,” McDaniel said. “The Day of Caring is one small way Belgrade High School staff and students can give back to our community.”
There is a Belgrade Day of Caring Facebook page for the community to submit work requests and offer suggestions. Food and money donations are also welcome.