Wheeling Country Day School youth sparks change in local community

Ohio County

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF)- Ask any preteen you know, and they probably can’t say they’ve sparked change in their local community. But one group of kids spent the day doing just that.

These kids are thinking well beyond their years into issues that affect all of us. They’re taking action on the headlines you read everyday, like equal pay, homelessness, mental health awareness, animal rights, and LGBTQ rights.  

“The kids kind of dove deep into these, and we let them lead it…. even though that’s the title of the thing. That was really the spirit of it too.”

Luke Hladek, advancement director

Wheeling Country Day School Advancement Director Luke Hladek’s talking about their youth activism project.

It took 12-weeks of work. Between studying worldwide activism, talking to community leaders, to getting involved in the community, these 7th and 8th graders did it all, and out of the 5 groups… each hand-picked their own passion as a project.

“My group did a project on animal awareness, and we made a blessing box, which if you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s: ‘take when you need, leave leave what you can’, and the Soup Kitchen has done a lot of them for humans, but we wanted to do them for pets.”

Brenna Gardill, 8th grader

“My group… we studied mental health awareness. We painted a kid who is sitting on the ground with a shadow of feelings all around him, and these people around him telling him that they care about him, but he’s kind of blind to all these things people are saying to him, but people do love people.”

Tucker Harden, 8th grader

It took a lot of time and energy, so much that the teachers at Wheeling Country Day School couldn’t be any more proud of their students.

“No matter their age or their experience level that they have a voice and they have a right to try to make things better, and so, they want to be part of this community.”

Luke Hladek, advancement Director

As they wrapped up their school project, people from the community, local leaders, teachers, and parents stopped by the school today to learn from the students.

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