Week of Caring volunteers lend hand at Salvation Army

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 24, 2002

The two hours after students get out of school but before parents get home from work are a difficult time for families.

Unless daycare is in the budget or another, older family member is able to be home, children are often left on their own &045; with many temptations to distract them.

The Salvation Army is one organization that is trying to fill that time with positive activities. And this week they had some extra hands available.

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As part of the United Way’s Week of Caring for 2002, The Salvation Army in Albert Lea got some help on Thursday afternoon from students at Southwest Middle School, employees of Metal Culverts and members of the O’Donnell family.

The Salvation Army’s gymnasium, where many of the after-school activities take place, got a good scrubbing when a group of students from Southwest Middle School and their teacher, Krista Weiss, came in to help out with spring-cleaning chores.

&uot;The students wanted to help out during the week of caring and The Salvation Army became our project,&uot; said Weiss.

The students &045; Shawn Lyngaas, Luke Bakke, and Jared Bakke &045; scrubbed walls, floor mats and other equipment in the gym.

The adult volunteers who showed up for the after-school program served as leaders, with Michael and Cindy O’Donnell leading activities in the gym and employees of Metal Culverts teaching the kids a craft.

&uot;My goal is to have people come in and interact with these kids,&uot; said Nancy Krowiorz. She said the kinds of relationships that develop between adults and youth in programs like the Salvation Army’s provide a positive experience for both groups, but especially for the youth.

&uot;I want the kids to see that other adults, and not just me and the other staff, take an interest in them and are willing to help them,&uot; said Krowiorz.

The after-school program runs throughout the school year and involves up to 25 children, although not all can come each afternoon. The Salvation Army also has offered special programs when school is out for spring break and will be offering a summer program for kids in elementary school this summer.