Students, staff and community members in the Raytown School District will be combining their health with making schools healthier.

Students, staff and community members in the Raytown School District will be combining their health with making schools healthier.

“Betterment Day is a day set aside each year to make improvements to the school buildings in the district with the assistance of the community,” said Travis Hux, assistant superintendent in the Raytown School District. “Volunteers will paint hallways, fences, etc. They will pull weeds, spread mulch, plant shrubs as well. This is a great way to make improvements at a low cost and allow the community to be a part of those improvements.”

Betterment Day is Saturday and will start with a Wellness Walk with more than 600 employees registered to participate in the 1.25-mile event. Following the walk, employees will join community members to volunteer at one of several school sites. One of the school district’s business partners, Comcast, will bring more than 175 volunteers to do some interior painting at Raytown High School.

Other partners will be volunteering at Westridge Elementary, Blue Ridge Elementary and Northwood School, all of which have students from southwest Independence in their student population.

“This is the third year of Betterment Day, and the event grows more each year,” Hux said. “The first year was mainly a test at one building as a means to see if it could be done and learn how it should be organized. The second year, the program involved most schools with staff and parents. This year, we have involved outside organizations such as businesses and churches and expanded the focus from exterior only to now include interior painting.”

Hux said the district benefits financially from participation in Betterment Day.

Three buildings will be painted and landscaping will be cleaned up at almost every district building. The Raytown High School project alone, he said, would cost an estimated $60,000 without help from the community. With volunteers, the project will cost about $5,000.

“The district also benefits in that at the end of the day we have made great improvement to our facilities. In this economy, and with funding issues at the state level, this is a great way to keep making progress,” he said. “The community benefits in that they are able to take part and have a buy-in to an improvement to the schools they and their children attend.”

Hux said hundreds of volunteers have already signed up to participate. He said volunteers are still being accepted and will be assigned to one of the schools.

“We plan to continue to grow this event so that the community can continue to be a part of maintaining the schools every year,” he said. “It is highly cost effective, and folks feel good about the work they accomplish.”

For more information, contact the Raytown School District Central Office at 816-268-7000.