On the morning of October 7th, four busses, filled with eager volunteers, arrived on the campus of the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in West Hartford with approximately 200 LexisNexis employees/contractors from the Hartford area for their annual LexisNexis Cares Service Day. Upon their arrival, they were escorted to the gymnasium where they received a warm welcome from ASD and Hands On Hartford staff. The employees got an opportunity to learn about ASD’s history and simultaneously witness the signing of the orientation.
Armed with shears, pruners, rakes, bow saws, tarps and wheelbarrows the majority of the volunteers tackled landscaping the 54 acre campus. They removed dead limbs, cut brush back towards the fence line, trimmed shrubs, etc. Some volunteers even went into the muddy brook to retrieve debris, a consequence of much beaver activity in the area, in an effort to clean-up the water. Volunteers painted 9 on-campus hydrants, as well as all exterior hand rails and fill tanks. They also carefully removed inscribed and non-inscribed bricks (in an effort to preserve them) located in front of Gallaudet Hall, which is slated to be torn down in the near future and replaced by a new building. The maintenance staff of ASD, which totals 6, truly appreciated this large scale effort. Because of the campus’ size and limited staffing, the maintenance staff is unable to keep up with the landscaping needs of the school.
In addition to landscaping, volunteers also focused on two major initiatives at the back of the campus in the woodlands. They revitalized a walking trail and built an outdoor classroom. The walking trail was cleared of felled trees/growing saplings and raked. A group of 5 math students and their teacher from ASD were responsible for measuring the distance of the trail prior to its clearing. Initially, the walking trail (which encourages healthy living) will be limited to the ASD community; however, it is likely that the trail will eventually be opened to the greater community. Moreover, a classroom consisting of five benches, a large whiteboard and a podium were also constructed. The outdoor classroom, will allow teachers to conduct classes outdoors (weather permitting) and will help students unwind, de-stress, regain focus and even learn better.
In total, LexisNexis’ employees provided over 600 hours of service to the ASD community in just half a day. As a consequence of the company’s commitment to the community and its manpower, the campus was beautified and healthy living/outdoor learning is now a reality for the nearly 200 students and dozens of staff members.