Bill Farquharson is 83 years old, said his wife, Mary Lou Farquharson. Recently she had shoulder replacement shoulder and has difficulty lifting her arms past a certain height. She will eventually need surgery on her ankle. When their church asked them if they would like help from seniors, they were both shocked and grateful.
“It’s really a blessing to see young people willing to do this,” said Bill Farquharson.
On Tuesday morning and afternoon, Minnetonka High School seniors volunteered at locations throughout the community. They will do the same on Wednesday. Students signed up for their Senior Serve project on May 30 and had the option to sign up for up to four projects.
There were four students at the Farquharson home Tuesday morning. They agreed that Senior Serve is one of the highlights of their senior year.
“We get out of school early,” said David Plaziak as he cleaned out the gutters, “you get to sign up with your friends, and just hang out and help.”
The seniors finished their finals on June 4. Graduation is June 7. Each group of student volunteers also has a teacher to supervise. Josh Stephan, who teaches health at Minnetonka High School, worked on the roof with Plaziak. He said that teachers are assigned to service projects in accordance with their schedules.
“It’s great to give back to those who help our kids,” Stephan said.
Katie Heard, who washed windows with two other senior girls agreed.
Bill Farquharson explained that he would never have been able to complete all the chores himself. He has had prostate cancer and open heart surgery.
“This is amazing,” he said. “This is stuff I could just nibble around the edges.”
The couple had cold drinks, donuts, and brownies for their senior helpers.
Seniors also volunteered at , where students packed food for the Lunch in the Sun program. The program provides extra fruit, veggies, and other foods for families with kids aged 5-17. Cathy Maes, executive director of ICA Food Shelf, said that the students’ help comes at a perfect time since the lunch program adds extra work for the regular volunteers. Students also labeled candy for summer events.
Many seniors want to participate in Senior Serve days, said Jackson Baril. He was one of five seniors at the food shelf on Tuesday morning.
“It’s like a Minnetonka tradition,” Baril said. “It’s not required, but the spots fill up.”
There are about 720 students in Minnetonka High School’s senior class. Class participation reached 85 percent to fill about 1000 volunteer positions. Other locations included Feed My Starving Children, Gale Woods Farm, Minnetonka elementary schools, and other homes with senior citizens in need of some extra help with chores.
Mary Lou Farquharson summed up her thoughts about the senior students’ assistance in a short statement.
“They’re our angels,” she said.