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Dozens of Butler County students will soon be helping seniors in the region. Here’s why.

A group of Lakota students volunteered in the semi-annual Random Acts of Simple Kindness Affecting Local Seniors (RASKALS) event in West Chester Twp. last year.
A group of Lakota students volunteered in the semi-annual Random Acts of Simple Kindness Affecting Local Seniors (RASKALS) event in West Chester Twp. last year.

West Chester’s semi-annual Random Acts of Simple Kindness Affecting Local Seniors (RASKALS) event is coming up, and officials say the volunteer opportunity is rewarding for Lakota teens.

Every spring and fall, hordes of volunteers hit the streets of the township to rake leaves, spread mulch, prune bushes and other tasks for elderly residents. This year, 28 students from the EDGE Teen Center will board vans on April 27 to help in the effort.

The center has sent volunteers at least twice before and Community Service Coordinator Hannah Cook said the kids probably get more out of the effort than the people they are serving.

“I think RASKALS is an awesome opportunity where they get exposed to a different demographic than some of the other places that we serve,” she said. “They get to see elderly and maybe disabled people in their neighborhoods they can help, maybe just by raking leaves and cleaning up their yards.”

Township spokesman Drew Reeder said the township is looking for about 200 volunteers and there is still time to sign up. Individuals or groups this year are encouraged to RSVP before Friday, April 12 by visiting https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b4ba9aa2da1fb6-2019.

If April 27 isn’t convenient West Chester will again extend the project for volunteers who are unavailable on the official RASKALS date. Any team or group with a scheduling conflict may be paired with a client on an alternate date.

Volunteer teams are paired with homes in the neighborhood where they complete simple yard clean-up tasks and outdoor chores from about 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 10 years of age or accompanied by an adult if younger, and everyone must complete a waiver.

Reeder said they have about 50 clients signed up to get help now and that's about the limit. But there will be another opportunity for the fall event on Nov. 9. Elderly residents in the Lakota School District in West Chester and Liberty townships can get their names on the waiting list by calling 513-777-5900 or visiting https://www.WestChesterOH.org

Cook said the RASKALS program teaches teens that community service is valuable.

“It exposes them to how easy it is to do community services, just cleaning up leaves can make someone’s day,” she said. “The older people we work with make it very known how much they appreciate it, they always have cookies and lemonade and things like that. I think it’s a great experience for the teens to see the little bit of work and how big of an impact it can have on someone’s life.”