Going from the ‘college world’ to the ‘real world’ has been a difficult transition for me. And I’m not just talking about how hard it is to wake up at six in the morning every day (although I do miss sleeping until noon). But in college, there is no such thing as ‘free time.’ For me, there was class, work, studying, internships, or… oh yeah… work again. When I graduated and started working in the real world, all of a sudden I had all of this free time that used to be taken up by studying. So once I settled into my work schedule, I decided to start filling my time by volunteering in the community. Philanthropic activities are kind of addicting, and once I did one thing, I wanted to do a thousand more.
A few weeks after my addiction to volunteering started, I decided to make a proposal that all of my coworkers at Burton Energy Group participate in some kind of community outreach activity with a local school. As it turned out, Staples (one of our clients) had approached us with a similar idea a few months prior. They were interested in partnering with schools around the country to help them complete projects for the Green Apple Day of Service. They had asked Burton if we would partner with them and help sponsor a local school, and of course we said yes!
When Burton asked me to head up our efforts, I was beyond excited. The first step was to try and find a local school that would be interested in participating. I did a little research and found Centennial High School’s environmental club in Roswell, GA. Their club has a very long list of awards and accomplishments that demonstrate their dedication to sustainability and green practices in the community. When I emailed them to assess their interest, Julie Burroughs, a Centennial High School mathematics teacher and the environmental club sponsor, emailed me back immediately. She explained that not only were they interested, but they already had a project idea prepared.
Five years ago, the dedicated students of the Environmental Club worked hard to plant a school garden with the hopes that someday it could blossom into an outdoor classroom. Well, with Burton Energy Group and Staples’ help, Julie and her club knew that they would finally be able to make this dream a reality. She proposed that we spend September 29 helping her students build picnic tables that would pose as desks in their garden.
Our Green Apple Day or Service was a blast! Staples provided the T-shirts lumber and donuts, while Burton provided the labor and the power tools. Originally I was terrified to let a bunch of high school kids use drills and saws. But they all knew exactly what they were doing, and actually ended up having to teach me how to use them! We worked from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and ate two-dozen donuts and 10 green apples, drank two liters of coffee, and built four picnic tables.
During the Day of Service, the high schoolers had a chance to ask my co-workers and me about our careers, our majors in college, and any other questions they had about the energy industry. It was a successful day of learning and building. By 1 p.m., Centennial High School had a completed outdoor classroom, and my fellow Burton employees and I had a renewed inspiration to continue our outreach into the community.
Thank you so much to Centennial High School’s environmental club for giving us the opportunity to work with you. And also a big thanks to Michael Joseph, of Mosaic Group Atlanta, for designing the picnic tables and overseeing their production.
Read the original blog post at http://www.theenergytrail.com/our-green-apple-day-of-service/