WELLSBURG - A children's group at Franklin Primary School is working to improve their school and community.
About 15 members of the school's Kids Konnection club, an offshoot of the school's Parent-Teacher Association, conducted a cleanup of Wellsburg's Yankee Trail as their first community service project in April and are collecting recyclable material to raise funds for their school.
Kaili Ridgley, the PTA's president; said the group was formed to get children involved in their school beyond their classrooms and teach them about community service.
She noted a number of students had described the PTA as a group "that buys stuff for us." The PTA's members wanted to show the children the planning involved in such events as the school's Spring Bazaar.
And Kids Konnection members took part in that event, raising $200 through a bake sale in which most of the cookies and other treats were sold for no more than a quarter.
PTA member April Eltringham oversaw the effort.
The group also has teamed with the PTA to establish a recycling collection at the school to raise money for various needs and projects at the school and is helping the adult group to identify materials needed for the school's art and music classes.
And in April Kids Konnection expanded its influence to the Yankee Trail, collecting litter between the Dollar General store and Pizza Hut in the first of a series of cleanups, Ridgley said.
"We were trying to think of a community service project and someone asked, how do people adopt a highway, and one thing led to another," she recalled.
Instead of adopting a section of highway, an endeavor undertaken with the help of the West Virginia Division of Highways, the PTA decided to take Kids Konnection to Wellsburg's paved walking trail.
Before that, several members of the group appeared at a Wellsburg City Council meeting to ask the board's permission to adopt the section of trail.
And several local businesses joined council in giving their blessing to the effort. Lowe's Home Improvement supplied two large containers of garbage bags, and Wendy's rewarded the children with free Frostys.
In addition, Eagle Manufacturing provided several barrels for the recycling collection.
"We were trying to stress to the kids the importance of giving back to the community and our community was giving back, right away, to us so I was pretty impressed," Ridgely said.
At one of the group's afterschool meetings, the children made thank-you signs for the businesses and city council.
Asked if she enjoyed the cleanup, Preslei Ridgely, a 6-year-old member of the club and Kaili's daughter, said, "Yeah, but our hands were real sweaty."
She referred to gloves worn by the children to keep their hands free of germs.
Seven-year-old Jazzmyn Carbasho said during the cleanup, the group collected plastic and glass for its recycling collection "but only the parents touched the glass."
Ridgely said there are plans in the future to have the group's officers shadow leaders of the PTA so they can learn how the adult group conducts and records meetings and tracks its funds.