ENGAGED COMMUNITIES - During the past few years, Enka Middle School has been hard at work creating a welcoming campus for students, staff, families and community members. Volunteer groups are essential to this effort.
That's where United Way could help. In late September, we organized a group of volunteers from Duke Energy to help transform a forgotten space on Enka Middle’s campus into a vibrant outdoor classroom. The volunteers power-washed, primed and painted outdoor walls and the concrete pad so that Enka’s visual arts teacher can create a lively and colorful mural with her students. Another group of volunteers will soon install a sun-shade to keep the area shady during the day, allowing more students and teachers to use the space.
Joann Cortes, sixth-grade science teacher at Enka Middle, understands the impact of this work. “It is vitally important for students to have both use of outdoor spaces and to take pride in their school,” according to Ms. Cortes. “Research has shown that the design and management of school grounds influences children's attitudes and behavior. An outdoor classroom will allow students the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of fresh air and sunshine while studying topics such as soil, plants and the structure of the Earth.”