Iowa Students Get Their Hands Dirty Helping with Yard Work to Earn School Credit
A group of Iowa students is doing yard work for the elderly and people with disabilities to earn physical education credit.
In an interview with PEOPLE, social studies teacher Tim Hitzler, who originated the program, said that the high school students at Dubuque's Alternative Learning Center go through the last two weeks of classes getting their hands messy.
“It’s been amazing, the attention this has gotten. I think it’s because it’s such a simple idea."
A lot of students have joined and go with Hitzler to people's homes to do garden work, cut down bamboo, and dealt with a chicken coop. They've concentrated on helping the seniors and those with disabilities.
Hitzler explained to the news outlet that once the students do it once, they want to do it again, and it's beneficial for them to discover real-life skills.
The social studies teacher added that the students are sweating when they're finished with the physical education activities.
Hitzler told ABC affiliate KCRG that it has been a fulfilling experience all around.
He said, "It's a rewarding feeling, you know we get to give back to the community, but the kids feel a sense of accomplishment, too."
Hitzler also shared that many people are supporting the program.
"People are very appreciative," he said. "Sometimes they cook us a meal. We had cheeseburgers the other day, ham sandwiches one day, today it was brats. So it's a win-win for everybody."
Mike Cyze, a spokesperson for the Dubuque Community School District, disclosed to PEOPLE that the curriculum of the school enables students to pick from different exercises during the last two weeks of school which will count towards their physical education credits.
Cyze said that four years ago, Hitzler decided to start the program after the school launched a garden.
Since then, the kids have worked along with Hitzler for two hours every day during the school week at the end of the school year.
“It’s been amazing, the attention this has gotten. I think it’s because it’s such a simple idea," Hitzler said.