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Riverton 7th Graders completing community improvement projects through the summer

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 12:01 AM CDT
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RIVERTON, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

The CIA or the Community Improvement Association is a program for 7th graders at the Riverton Middle School. It started 4 years ago, and has since become part of the student’s curriculum. Students must each select a project they can curate that improves the community of Riverton in some way.

A large part of the class project is having community members such as political figures and business owners present before the students to teach them how positive efforts in the community make it a better place for everyone.

7th grader Tosha Kenyon stated, “I’ve learned that graffiti can really impact our community and if we don’t step up, then it will just get worse and our community can face property value decreases and there can be an increase in violence.”

The group’s solution to the graffiti problem at Riverton City Park is to create a hand print mural and invite the public to join in on the painting this summer. Another group seeks to bring awareness to mental health by planning positive community events this summer. Student Aquinnah Wiblemo explained,“Throughout the pandemic I’ve realized that things could really get to you way easier than they have before, and a lot of people get really lonely.”

Even though the required projects end after 7th grade, some students have continued with their project and volunteerism through summer and even high school because of the relationships formed. Co-founder of CIA and Riverton Middle School language arts teacher, Alma Law described, “It just becomes part of what they feel like doing on a Thursday afternoon or a Saturday morning. It’s no longer required in the school, that connects with it, it’s who they become.”

7th grader Angela Bilango said that it “made me realize how many people are in need, and how much we don’t realize how grateful we should be, for the food and the things that we get.” Mr. Law added, “I would also like the students to be mindful of the impact they have on the feel and the culture of the community.”

“It’s already changed my perspective a lot on what even kids or adults can do just working together, or alone, and how much you accomplish,” added 7th grader Fiona Fraser. One group spent their time learning about food insecurity and what they can do to help with the issue locally.

“One in nine people in Wyoming are food insecure, and one in seven children in Wyoming are food insecure. It’s kind of rough seeing people go through that situation,” explained 7th grader Lily McClure. That inspired her group to take action by starting a food drive at Smith’s grocery store.

Mr. Law explained what he teaches the students, “What you’re doing needs to impact the community, it needs to inspire people. We tell them Riverton needs this, Fremont County needs this, Wyoming needs this.”

Students in the Community Improvement Association have learned many important lessons both inside the school, as well as out, but sometimes the most important lessons learned, are the simplest. “That sometimes helping people instead of helping yourself makes you feel better,” added 7th grader Braedyn Mosbrucher.

For more information about how to get involved in the activities the students planned, you can visit their Facebook page, We R Spartans for updates.

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