Elkins Mountain Schools residents are very active in giving back to the community through our numerous Community Service programs.
In November 2010, Elkins Mountain Schools clients and staff started a project called the “Bears to Share” Program, making teddy bears for local nursing homes. We recognized a desire to donate some type of holiday gift to nursing home residents; the idea of teddy bears was suggested. A pattern was obtained; facial features were created; and fabric and stuffing materials were donated by employees.
Clients and staff work together, donating their time to create the teddy bears. The initial project goal was to make 100 bears. This goal was met in December 2010. Although the project started as a holiday idea, it has expanded into a continuing project that has included donating over 560 bears to local law enforcement, fire departments and other charitable organizations working with children or the elderly. The goal is to make 20 bears a month; continue to donate bears to at least two organizations each month; and expand the program to include surrounding counties. Materials to make the bears continue to be donated by employees and several community citizens who, through organizations receiving the bears, have heard of the program.
To date, the following organizations have received bears: Good Samaritan Nursing Home; Nella’s Nursing Home; Randolph County Sheriff’s Department; Elkins City Police; Women’s Aid in Crisis; Randolph County Homeless Shelter; the American Red Cross; Randolph County Office of Emergency Management; Davis Memorial Hospital Emergency Department; the Alliance for Children; Children’s Home Society; Barbour County Emergency Squad; Marion County Homeless Shelter; Tyrand Cooperative Ministries; United Hospital Center Emergency Department; and Elkins Fire Department.
Good Samaritan Nursing Home
In 2010 Good Samaritan Nursing Home, located in Belington, WV, requested our assistance in participating in activities and interacting with some of their Dementia patients. Clients participate with the residents twice a week in activities including crafts, games and BINGO. Annually, clients assist with the center’s Trick-or-Treat night by helping the residents give out candy to children from the community. The clients have developed positive relationships with the residents and are always eager to visit. Clients also prepare holiday crafts, coloring pictures and cards for the residents.
Nella’s Nursing Home
Clients participate weekly with residents at Nella’s during their Friday evening BINGO game. Clients help the residents with their BINGO cards and are often called upon to be the “caller” of the BINGO numbers. Clients also prepare holiday crafts, coloring pictures and cards for the residents.
Elkins Regional Convalescent Center
Clients participate weekly with residents at ERCC during their Wednesday evening activities.
Randolph County Humane Society
Clients volunteer at the local dog shelter at least weekly, more often depending on the weather. The clients walk the dogs so shelter volunteers can clean the area in which they are housed.
The Adopt-a-Highway project includes four different sections of county roads that Elkins Mountain Schools has adopted to provide litter pick-up. Necessary items for the project are provided by the WV Department of Highways. Adopt-a-Highway activities occur at least weekly, more often depending on the need.
Allegheny Highlands Bike Trail
The Allegheny Highlands Trail (AHT) follows the original route of the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway, built by Henry Gassaway Davis in 1884. Clients provide weekly litter clean-up along the trail beginning at the Gilman trail head, going toward Montrose and from the Gilman trailhead going toward Highland Park.
Elkins Mountain School is committed to recycling as many items as possible. Clients assist with preparing items to be sent to the recycling center, loading the items and unloading the items being recycled.
Shortly after a major summer storm, officials at Camp Pioneer 4-H camp called seeking our assistance in cleaning-up debris around the grounds that had been left in the wake of the storm. After assisting with that project, clients have continued to help out with weekly projects at the camp. Twice a week clients gain hands-on experience regarding the upkeep, maintenance, and services provided at the camp.
Tyrand Cooperative Ministries
Located in Mill Creek, WV. Tyrand Cooperative Ministries is a Christian-based ministry reaching out to the less fortunate of the Tygart Valley in Southern Randolph County. Clients have opportunity to help out with projects including clean-up and beautification at the bunkhouse, the annual Ham and Bean dinner and moving items for the thrift store. Clients get some hands-on experience when helping with any of the projects.
Local Park Clean-up
There are several parks in the Randolph County area in which clients assist with litter pick-up on a routine basis. These parks include Riverbend Park, Glendale Park, Bickel’s Knob Recreation area and Bluegrass Park.
Tygart River Clean-up
The Tygart Valley River is a very precious natural resource; it is the source of life for residents of the City of Elkins. The condition of the river has a direct impact on everyone
in the City as well as in surrounding areas. Annually, a clean-up of the Tygart River and riverbanks is planned by the City of Elkins. Clients participate in the river clean-up by cleaning debris from the riverbanks.
Elkins/Randolph Chamber of Commerce
Clients participate in a number of community service projects for the Chamber of Commerce. Annually, clients participate in the Elkins Christmas Parade as banner carriers and a Christmas themed float entry in the parade. Clients assist with preparing goodie bags for the July 4 Car Show and setting up the area in the City Park.
Gilman Field is a softball field that clients help maintain during the spring and summer. Keeping the field ready for play and the surrounding area clean takes hours of work, which clients take pride in doing.
Orchard Hall provides meals to the less fortunate during holidays. When requested, clients assist with set up and clean-up before and after these events.
There are additional organizations that request assistance as needed, including Mountain Hospice, Youth Health Services, Women’s Aid in Crisis, the Augusta Festival, Kiwanis, Davis Memorial Hospital, Randolph County Local Emergency Planning Committee, a local food pantry and the United Way.