BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Celebrating 14 years of community service, Independence Elementary held their annual SOCKS Day event Friday, April 28.
SOCKS, Serving Our Community Kids Style, is an Independence tradition where each grade level pairs with a different organization and spends the day helping them.
“There are different community partners at every grade level, but they do the same one every year,” SOCKS Day Coordinator Corena Bell said. “It’s a win-win situation, I really feel like student engagement here is at an all-time high.”
Bell, who is also a first-grade teacher at the school, said students spend weeks prior to the event learning about the organization they’re paired with and tying it into their academics. She hopes doing SOCKS Day every year will help kids make community service an important part of their life after leaving Independence.
“SOCKS Day is just a great opportunity when our building can come together collaboratively to make a difference in our world,” Bell said. “I think it’s really important that the community begins to view all our students as resources for them, that we can really partner and make a difference in our community.”
Fifth grade students Caleb Cummings and Jacob Minton have participated in SOCKS Day every year since beginning elementary school. Cummings said he enjoyed this year the most, when the fifth graders paired with senior citizens in the community to play board games and talk about each other’s lives.
They said in fourth grade they made blankets for Beaumont Children’s Hospital, third grade they boxed muffins for Meals on Wheels, second grade they made care packages for soldiers, first grade they made toys for Canine Companions Rescue Center and in Kindergarten they put together toiletry bags for Grace Centers of Hope.
“It’s fun and I liked when we did the care packages for the soldiers,” Minton said.
Bell added Young Fives partners with Chelsea O’Brien of Clarkston Family Farm. They beautified the schools learning garden and made bee houses.
“Seeing how the staff pulls together to create greatness for these kids and to be able to talk about how they serve and where it’s going and to have actually the partners come and to be able to present things to them, I just thought it was an exceptional day,” Independence Principal Nate Fuller said. “I want to relay to the students that they can just continue to do this each and every day and it’s not just one event, but to find those little things on a smaller scale to impact their life.”