Giving back at an early age

It's called "me to we," and a class of fourth graders demonstrated the concept Thursday washing patrol cars for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

The 15 students of Janell Sheets walked to the sheriff's office from Minden Elementary School after lunch for an hour of giving back and having fun.

"Those cars are out protecting your community," Sheets said, directing the hose spray on the cars instead of the students. "Wash them with gusto!"

Nine-year-old Alexis McQuigg explained the philosophy this way:

"We're doing something that takes away time from us to give back to the community," she said. "You get to be out and about in the community when you're helping."

Sheets introduced the concept to her class at the beginning of the school year.

"I believe we become confident when we're helping in the community," Sheets said. "They're learning that one small act can change the world."

Sheets tries to organize one project a month.

"We brainstorm," she said. "By far, what we do is a group decision."

So far, the students have cleaned the cafeteria and made care packages for the homeless.

Christopher Pina, 9, enjoyed washing the patrol cars in the breezy, bright afternoon sunshine.

"We're washing cars and helping our police department," he said. "The police department is keeping the city safe and not letting riots go on."

The students also were treated to a brief visit from K9 officer Hondo and his partner, Deputy David Stanley.

They also restocked supplies for the patrol cars under the guidance of Citizens Patrol volunteer Fred Asmann.

"We're helping them put blankets in the cars," said 10-year-old Brian Leon.

Sheets said the students loved "Me to We."

"I want them to feel empowered and like they can make a difference," she said. "And I see the benefits of this overflow in the classroom."


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