Upward Bound’s Day of Service benefits community

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As part of a Day of Service Friday afternoon, Upward Bound students and staff completed a number of community service projects in the greater Farmington area. Seen sitting while cutting up Japanese Knotweed at The Pierce House, from left, are Shianne Bryant, Kyle Arsenault and Sidney Small. Standing is Hilarie Fotter.  

By Pam Harnden, Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — More than 75 Upward Bound students and staff spent Friday afternoon in the greater Farmington area undertaking a variety of community service projects.

Lynn Ploof-Davis, Director of the Upward Bound program at the University of Maine Farmington, said by email United Way of the Tri-Valley Area coordinated the eight locations. Some of the Day of Service activities included gardening, painting and entertaining.

At The Pierce House, several students took turns entertaining the residents with their musical abilities. Outdoors, Upward Bound teacher Mike Waters and a group of students attached the Japanese Knotweed bushes growing along the fence out back. Once the 6 foot or taller bushes were cut down, they were then cut into smaller pieces and placed in plastic bags for disposal.

“It’s very invasive. We did this last year. It’s hard to kill it,” Waters said.

At the Holman House, some students were busy emptying out a room stuffed to overflowing with plastic planters and peat pots. Others organized the various pots by size and shape.

As part of a Day of Service Friday afternoon, Upward Bound students and staff completed a number of community service projects in the greater Farmington area. Seen sitting while cutting up Japanese Knotweed at The Pierce House, from left, are Shianne Bryant, Kyle Arsenault and Sidney Small. Standing is Hilarie Fotter.  

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

Old South Congregational Church member Shirley Waddell said, “It’s very nice that they offered to help out. There are several years of plant sale pots stored. We’re trying to organize them and make better sense of it all.”

Upward Bound staff member Mary Sinclair, who helped organize the sites for the Day of Service, is a member of Old South, Waddell said.

“The pots had just been chucked in there and no one could get in the door. It’s really great to have them help us out with this,” Waddell said.

In the North Dining Hall, UMF, Upward Bound students and staff were assisting with a blood drive or donating blood. This activity began at 10 a.m.

Sinclair said the goal was to collect 65 pints. 40 donors had signed up with 30 pints already collected by 1:30 p.m.

“We’re doing okay. About ten students are giving blood today – that’s kind of cool,” Sinclair said.

She said the Upward Bound theme this year is “U B the change,” with the students inspired to make a change in the community.

Friday afternoon, Upward Bound students and staff assisted with several community service projects as part of a Day of Service. Here, students entertain residents at The Pierce House in Farmington.

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

Upward Bound student Alexis Ambroise said, “It’s amazing how we can make a difference, from something as small as helping clear a fence or entertaining at a nursing home to something as large as donating blood or completing one thousand acts of kindness.”

Sinclair said if each student does three acts of kindness each week during the six week Upward Bound program, the goal of completing 1,000 acts of kindness could be reached.

At LEAP’s Stone Soup Gardens, the pumpkin patch was being weeded by some students. Others were using spades to remove grass and weeds that were choking out a highbush blueberry planting. Groups were also working on the trails, some of which are handicapped accessible.

Residents at Pinewood Terrace were entertained as part of the Day of Service. Gardening assistance was provided at Hope Harvest Community at Franklin Memorial Hospital, Farmington, and Western Maine Community Action in East Wilton.

Ploof-Davis said some “U B the Change” projects will be ongoing. Among them are money jar collections, food pantry donations, hygiene product collection for first year college students, the 1,000 Acts of Kindness Challenge and creative writing class visits to the nursing home.

The Upward Bound program at UMF runs through Aug. 4.

pharnden@sunmediagroup.net

Friday afternoon, Upward Bound students helped organize plant pots at Holman House, Farmington, as part of a Day of Service. Seen working, from left, are Elisa Campanelli, Naquela Knox, Dayle Pooler and Sarah Milledge.

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

Friday afternoon, Upward Bound students helped organize plant pots at Holman House, Farmington, as part of a Day of Service. Seen, from left, are Josh Brown, Cory Ostiguy, Elisa Campanelli, Naquela Knox, Dayle Pooler and Sarah Milledge.

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

Upward Bound students and staff participated in several activities Friday as part of a Day of Service. Here, students and staff assist at a blood drive at North Dining Hall, University of Maine Farmington.

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

Upward Bound students and staff performed a variety of community service projects Friday as part of a Day of Service. Here, they have cleared one section of fence at The Pierce House in Farmington.

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

Upward Bound students Skyler Santillo, at left, and Nick Parson use spades to clear grass and weeds from around a highbush blueberry plant at Stone Soup Gardens in Farmington. Friday afternoon students and staff visited eight community sites to volunteer as part of a Day of Service.

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

Friday afternoon, Upward Bound students Breanna Torres, at left, and Sierra Perigo helped weed pumpkins and sunflowers in the “Pumpkin Patch” at Stone Soup Gardens in Farmington. Students and staff from the program could be found volunteering at eight locations Friday afternoon as part of a Day of Service.

(Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal)

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