What you need to know about this year’s ‘Day of Caring’

The annual "Day of Caring" will take place Wednesday, April 26. Wadena-Deer Creek high school students give back to their community by volunteering to do outdoor projects that day.

Ella Stroeing and Ally Pavek hold a banner for this year's "Day of Caring." The Wadena-Deer Creek High School seniors who co-chair the annual event are National Honor Society members.
Ella Stroeing, left, and Ally Pavek hold a banner for this year's "Day of Caring." The Wadena-Deer Creek High School seniors who co-chair the annual event are National Honor Society members.
Contributed / Ella Stroeing

WADENA — Help is just a phone call away with Wadena-Deer Creek High School’s “Day of Caring.”

The annual event will take place Wednesday, April 26, and will involve students giving back to their community by volunteering to help people with outdoor cleanup projects.

“This 'Day of Caring’ project was actually started in 2007, so this is the 16th year that we have had the event,” said Ella Stroeing, a Wadena resident and high school student.

At people’s requests, students will rake leaves, clean out flower beds and wash first-floor windows, for example, at no charge, according to Stroeing.

“This is just more set aside for, like, more of the elderly people in our community that just can't do this work by themselves or at all,” Ally Pavek said of the event. “And this is just a way for us to give back and to do our part because we can do it.”


WDC seniors Pavek and Stroeing are co-chairing this year’s feel-good event as their National Honor Society project. They served in supporting roles during last year’s “Day of Caring” with tasks such as answering phones, completing paperwork and double-checking on work crews.

“You get to see all of the moving parts that go into a day like this,” Stroeing said of the scope of her involvement last year. “'I'm also just very proud of my classmates and the underclassmen. They put in the hard work in a nontypical way … doing outdoor cleanup projects.”

About 115 projects in Wadena, Deer Creek, Bluffton and areas in between were completed by 35 student crews during last year’s “Day of Caring.”

“It was just rewarding to be able to see all of the student body come together and give back to the community just because they do so much for us,” Pavek said of last year’s event.

Stroeing was crowned homecoming queen, and the 18-year-old has been involved with cross-country, wrestling, softball and student council. Pavek has been involved in cross-country, basketball, track and student council, and the 17-year-old was a captain of the sports teams.

“As far as, like, the length of a project goes, we'd like to stay around an hour because otherwise, you don't have time to get to your other jobs,” Stroeing said of cleanup work parameters. “And each crew typically has around, I would say, three to four different yards they are to complete.”

Requests for volunteer work started at the beginning of April and more than 80 people with yards have signed up already with requests for this year’s “Day of Caring,” according to Stroeing.

More than 300 high school students from ninth through 12th grades are expected to participate in Wednesday’s community event. Teachers, staff or National Honor Society members will lead the work crews; there are 34 National Honor Society members consisting of juniors and seniors.


“It's definitely been a challenge but one that we're very grateful for,” Stroeing said of the planning. “And seeing the community members and interacting with them and then also just seeing the student body come together as well is a very cool experience that we've enjoyed.”

To request help with an outdoor cleanup project, call 218-632-2444 and leave a message with your name, address, phone number and a brief description of what you would like help with Wednesday. “Day of Caring” requests are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write features stories for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. The weekly newspaper is owned by Forum Communications Co.
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