Prefects at Kristin School got their gumboots grubby over the past two weeks as they worked to landscape three IHC-owned houses.
The homes, occupied by women with physical and intellectual disabilities, were surrounded by yards largely inaccessible to wheelchair users or the elderly with walkers.
Students raised more than $17,000 for the project by holding a quiz night for family and friends and did all the DIY themselves guided by their school's environmental landscaping team.
Joel Granger, 17 and Michelle Meuli, 17, deputy head prefects at Kristin School, spent their school holidays at the sites while 20 other prefects worked rostered shifts.
Mr Granger says the project was hugely rewarding.
One woman has lived in one of the houses for 20 years and had rarely been in the yard because it wasn't accessible, he says.
He and Miss Meuli met the residents to ascertain their requirements. Many of these were practical, such as a wide, paved walkway around one house with a wheelchair-bound person, while others were a bit more whimsical.
"One lady, named Rose, loves roses. So we're putting in a rose garden for her," Miss Meuli says.
A butterfly garden at one house, complete with a mural painted by the prefects, is another highlight.
Aside from pulling weeds and planting flowers, the students also learned how to pour cement and organise outdoor jobs in unpredictable weather.
Kristin's Senior School principal Brendan Kelly says he hopes the students will gain more than DIY skills from the project. "What they really learn is the reality of leadership; it's about service."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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