Students Get Credit For Helping Elderly And Disabled

The students can earn PE credit by doing yard work for the elderly and disabled, thanks to a recent innovative change in their school curriculum.

As summer approaches, many people will be doing yard work, but for those who can't physically do it for themselves due to health issues or age, a group of Iowa students is stepping in to help.

Students at Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in Dubuque, Iowa, are now getting physical education credit by helping senior people and those with disabilities.

These students spend their physical education sessions tending yards of the elderly and people with disabilities, and their hard work goes to their PE credit.

Alternative Learning Center offers an excellent learning setting for junior and senior high school students who've been struggling to succeed in traditional schools and are at the risk of dropping out.

At ALC, the students can focus on project-based learning opportunities that'll help them make it to graduation.

Tim Hitzler, a teacher at the school, said that they added a yard work program as an option for students to receive credit.

By doing yard works, it benefits not only the students but also the community, said Hitzler.

Hitzler told KWWL:

"The students and I and other students come out and help them. Could be raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting grass, cleaning gutters just depends on what they need."

"The students aren't typically too excited initially, but once they get involved and start doing the yard work, they become more motivated."

"What they really like is A: helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person."

Yard work activities, such as trimming hedges, mowing lawns, raking leaves, and weeding, give the student a significant calorie burn. This helps them in strength building as well as keeping their body fit.

Hitzler said:

"Once kids do it once, they wanna do it again. It's good for them to learn real-life skills. They work hard. It's not easy. They're sweating when they're done."

As part of the school's curriculum, students at ALC can choose from various activities during the last two weeks of school that'll count towards their physical education credit.

Volunteering to do yardwork for residents in the community is one of the options. Other options include cleaning up golf courses or river barge.

Hitzler also told the People news outlet that some students have even volunteered to help the community over the summer.

He added:

"I've had students that graduated that have come back to help. There's something about helping people that really need it."