Jackson students learning to 'pay it forward'

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - In Stephanie Martin's Service Learning class, students actually experience what it means to be a better citizen through hands on community service projects.

Students say it's changed their outlook on their life and their town.

Friday the kids made homemade dog biscuits and had a great time in the process.

The dog biscuits will go to the Humane Society and Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary. It's a favorite of many projects that build a better community, and students' character as well.

"It's fun and it's active and you do a lot of projects with this class," said student, Michael Loos.

Student's say they are learning a lot about who they are, and who they want to be.

"Most teenagers they are more into themselves and how their lives are more than impacting other lives," said Alexis Hanks, a student.

The class learns why the projects are important, and reflect on why it's important to pay it forward.

"These animals have been abused its nice to help out and give them treats and play with them when they come in," said student, Erin Thurman.

"I feel like this class is vital," said teacher, Stephanie Martin. "This year we have done a project for the American Red Cross. We did the Holiday Mail for Heroes. We do a project with nursing homes where the kids go and volunteer over there."

Other projects include bulletin boards. They considering it creative recycling. The students worked in groups to turn things like bags, foil and magazines into art. The projects focus on a better environment and a better school.

"They'll come back and say the learned something about themselves that they didn't realize," said Martin.

"I've learned how easily you can help people by doing simple things," said Abigail Sadler, a student. "And they really need the help!"

"It's really made an impact on me," said Hanks. "I have learned the hardships that people in senior homes go through and hardships of animals that are neglected and abused, I am learning a lot about the community and how it needs help."

Students say they were surprised how much they enjoy helping others.

"Now it's kind of fun actually," said Gavin Arnhart-Powell, a student.

"It feels good that all the work you put in comes out for the good at the end," said Loos.

Martin says she loves hearing years later those simple lessons like making dog biscuits turn into recipes for lifelong volunteers.

"They'll come back later and say I still volunteer and it all started with this class," said Martin.

"It makes me feel like I've impacted the world and it is becoming a better place," said Hanks.

Some students say the class has them considering a career in service.

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