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Highway Cleanup This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Highway Cleanup

by S. G., New City, NY

"Look what I found, " shouted Beth. She ran toward us holding a pornographic magazine containing pictures of naked men. This situation took place six months ago on Route 304 in New City, New York. I am part of the after-school community service club, Interact. Cleaning up the highway interested me more than the other services.

On the planned day, the groups met in the parking lot of the Clarkstown Police Department. We were given orange vests, orange garbage bags, and sticks with the nails on the ends. We looked like convicts. We were then assigned to different sectors and the groups were off.

When a person cleans up a highway, he usually expects to see scraps of paper, aluminum cans, and maybe a few car parts from the latest accident. My group found all these things and more. One unusual thing I found was an "Elton John: Greatest Hits" CD. The people in my group said it was an excellent CD. I would have kept it if it hadn't been scratched and lying in a puddle. Another strange thing my group found was a bottle half full of vodka. The chaperone took off the cap and immediately turned up her nose at the strong smell. The magazine was the most unusual piece of garbage we found. Beth would have kept it as her trophy for the day if her mother had not arrived. That was the highlight of her day. As we moved along the highway, we started finding Monopoly money. It was decided that whoever found the most money got the first drink at McDonald's. My friend won with $6,335.

My morning of cleaning up a highway turned out to be fun. I will probably do this activity again and have an even better time. fl



Tutoring at Lincoln School

by A. G., Brookline, MA

The program I am doing is known as a homework center. It takes place at the Lincoln School. Every day, Monday through Thursday, at quarter past two when classes have finished, two to three student volunteers from Brookline High School go to the library at Lincoln for an hour. Volunteers organize and chaperone a study center where Lincoln students come to do work. The volunteers help with the homework and get to know the kids. Hopefully the volunteers become good friends with the kids as well as take on a teaching role.

In the past, 10 to 20 Lincoln students went to the center. However, during the last year the numbers have dropped. One of my main goals is to make the center fun for the kids. If I can make going to the center a "cool" thing to do for the kids at Lincoln, then more kids will come.

One of the great aspects of this program is that the students and the volunteers both get something beneficial from it. The Lincoln students get their work done earlier, therefore developing good work habits that help them in high school and beyond. They will also have the opportunity to talk with, learn from and get to know some older kids. The fact that they are being taught by older kids, not teachers, means that the program is different from school, which I think is positive. This program also benefits the student volunteers. They have the opportunity to get to know and work with younger kids. As well as being fun, the program teaches them how to work with kids productively. For volunteers who do not have younger siblings, this program gives them an opportunity to be around younger kids, something that they may not experienced very often.

So far, my biggest hang-up has been getting the program going. It seems that once I try to get an aspect of the program squared away, something else comes up and limits what I can do. Another challenge is finding recruits. Many of the people I have spoken to play sports after school and are therefore cannot volunteer. My goal for this program is to continue to supply a service to the children of Lincoln School. I hope that the volunteers will not only work with and tutor the children, but will also get to know them as friends and even as role models.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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