“You guys are just digging away here!” said Lisa Rovito, a substitute teacher in Weehawken and Elks Club liaison to the Peer Leadership program, on Monday as students shoveled, raked, planted flowers, and laid mulch in front Town Hall on Park Avenue.
The beautification project was organized by members of the Weehawken Elks Club, local Boy Scouts, and student volunteers.
The volunteers came from the Roosevelt School and Weehawken High School’s Peer Leadership Program. Mayor Richard Turner came out to greet the young volunteers as he admired their work on the steps of Town Hall.
The project was funded by a $1,000 Elks National Foundation grant known a Beacon Grant, which was given to the Peer Leadership Program. It’s part of their Community Investments Program and requires a new, ongoing, and charitable project done for the community involving the youth.
Lisa Rovito, an Elks member for 10 years, was accompanied by her husband and fellow member Tom Rovito, among others. Rovito also helps coordinate several other projects through the year including a youth night in October every year.
She proposed the idea to Mayor Richard Turner and his spokesman Gio Ahmad.
“You guys are just digging away here!” – Lisa Rovito
With the money from the grant, the group hopes to fund other local projects around Weehawken involving recreational activities in parks and schools.
With no hesitation, volunteers got on all fours and began putting their “green thumbs” to work.
Estefania Pulgarin, a Weehawken High School student, didn’t mind getting her hands and school clothes dirty as she shoveled and watered the flowers. The beautiful assortment of flowers was planted along the front lawn of Town Hall on both sides of the main steps.
Several of the flowers are said to blossom year around and need little maintenance. Laura Sciortino, peer advisor for grades nine through 12, and Meghan Edson, peer advisor for grades seven and eight, looked on as the students enjoyed their time finishing up the project.
The students were treated to pizza and soda as they cleaned up and headed inside Town Hall to eat.
Students involved in the Peer Leadership program are given the opportunity to serve their community by volunteering for local events for their school and the town. Members sign up with their school and pledge to abstain from drug and alcohol abuse while maintaining good grades. They often work together with other organizations and have been recognized for several awards and citations.
Christian Diaz may be reached at ChristianD@hudsonreporter.com.