By Andrea Cordle
Students in the Grove City P.A.R.K (Programmed After-school Recreation for Kids) program are working on a project that will have a lasting impact in the community.
The P.A.R.K Cap Project is a recycling initiative by students in the before and after school programs. The students are collecting caps and lids. Once they have enough, the students will send the caps to Green Tree Plastics, a recycling company based in Evansville, Ind. Green Tree will then melt the caps into a bench, as part of the ABC (A Bench for Caps) Promise Partnership.
The idea for this project came from Amanda Gehres, a recreation supervisor for Grove City P.A.R.K and youth programs. She said her father is a school teacher and had implemented this project with his students. She thought she would bring it to the elementary-aged children in the P.A.R.K. program.
“It teaches kids the importance of recycling; the importance of doing our part,” said Gehres. “It fits the philosophy of our community.”
According to Green Tree Plastics, the ABC Promise Partnership is a cap and lid program designed by school children for school children. It helps educators teach students the importance of green living and protecting the environment. Students as young as daycare age can participate in the program as can students all the way through college.
Gehres said the students are collecting caps or lids from items such as soda or water bottles, butter tubs, coffee canisters, and laundry detergent. The students and their families have provided a lot of caps, but now the students are looking to the community for help.
According to Gehres, the students need to collect roughly 400 pounds of caps to get a six-foot bench.
“We have enough for two benches at this point, but we want to do more,” said Gehres.
The students have put cap bins in several public locations including the Kingston Center, Evans Center, City Hall and the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. They encourage community members to drop off their washed caps.
Gehres said she hopes to have the first bench within the next few months. She does not yet know where the recycled bench would be located, but said it could possibly go in front of the Kingston Center. Once the bench has arrived, Gehres said the parks and recreation staff will hold a dedication for the students and participants. Additional benches could be placed in Grove City parks or other public spaces.