K-15: Kiwanis East Head Start Preschool gets organized with help from student volunteers

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Students enjoying each other’s company in Johnson University’s own bus.

Like most of the students that ventured into Knoxville on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015, the group that set out for Kiwanis East Head Start Preschool for the day of service had no idea what to expect.

The group of twelve, consisting primarily of freshmen guys, was led by RA Magnes J. Lewis III.

“[SGA President] Matt Shears is a good friend of mine and he knew I was certified to drive vehicles for school,” said Lewis as he reminisced over driving the group around in one of the school’s fifteen-passenger vans.

He went on to say that he was glad Shears trusted him to do a good job of leading the group, even though he is not a member of SGA.

When the group finally arrived, they entered the building and were immediately met by a crowd of preschoolers, all extremely excited to be on their way to the playground.

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Magnes Lewis and JT Daugherty taking inventory.

The children, however, were not what this group of students would spend their day with.

They were immediately split up into three groups, each group having a particular job to do that was specifically requested by the staff.

One group was tasked with cleaning out and organizing a closet so they could take inventory of the carseats inside.

The students made what was once an almost inaccessible room spacious and organized.

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Will Wilson vigorously sweeping leaves from the patio.

Another group was tasked with cleaning up the playground area by sweeping the leaves off the patio and organizing the various toys the school owns.

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Nate Seevers and Jordan VandenHeuvel lift Zack Griggs and Josey Waggoner to clean the higher windows.

“It’s great to be able to reach out with our school.” said freshman David Skow as he swept. “I like being able to help the community and impact it in positive way.”

The last group was put in charge of wiping down the outside of all the windows and doors.

Given there was no ladder provided, the students had to get a little creative to clean the hard to reach places.

By the time all three groups had finished their jobs, it was a lunch time. Everyone then headed to the bus to eat their prepackaged meals.

After a well needed twenty minute break, the group was led away from the school building to a storage building that looked as though it had not been entered for a long time.

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Logan Canaday looking for a place to stash a trash can.

All twelve members of the group were able to stick together this time as they were tasked with the job of organizing the various items within the building.

Tedious as this last job was, freshman Logan Canaday found joy in the work.

“I feel like they wouldn’t have asked us to come here [and do this] if it wouldn’t make some sort of a difference,” Canaday commented as he helped move the furniture. “I’m very happy to be here and I hope everyone that helped out today enjoyed it.”

When the group was finished organizing the building, two members of the preschool staff walked up and personally thanked them for their hard work.

Blown away by the amount and quality of work the group accomplished, the staff had each of them write down their addresses so they could send them thank you letters in the mail.

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Creatively decorated cork board found near the entrance of the preschool.

“I feel like we accomplished everything that we needed to and then a little some,” said Lewis at the end of the day. “Even though we didn’t get [assigned] a ton of work, we got everything done that we needed to, and they were very enthused [by] the work that we did.”

Kiwanis East Head Start Preschool got a little cleaner and a little more organized this past Wednesday, and this is all due to the hard work of the students at Johnson University.  

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