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Students attending Eden Junior/Senior High School have the opportunity this school year to participate in a new community service program.

Students can volunteer with any of 14 child care centers, nursing homes, hospitals and nonprofit groups.

"This is an opportunity for the kids to get more experience listed on their records. A lot of scholarships are community-service based, and I think this will open up some more avenues for students," said Ronald Buggs, principal of Eden Junior/Senior High School.

All students in seventh through 12th grades are eligible to do community service, according to Marc Graff, facilitator of the program and business teacher at the high school.

"However, if students are having a difficult time in their studies, we would rather have them at home studying than volunteering," Graff said.

In a presentation to the Eden School Board on Wednesday evening, Graff said the program will be completely student-driven, and an application packet will be mailed to district parents in October.

"Right now there are no time requirements that a student must work. It is at their discretion," said Graff.

He added that students will have to apply to volunteer, get parental permission, pick a facility to work with and turn all forms in to the dean of students. Afterward, the student will meet with a volunteer coordinator of the agency chosen to arrange their schedule and placement within the facility.

All service records will be filed and available to be included on college applications, for references, awards or for employment applications, according to Graff.

Agencies taking part in the program include Tender Loving Childcare, Wee-Folk Childcare, Eden Co-op Nursery, Eden Kindercare, Orchard Heights, Eden Heights, Rosewood Village, Children's Hospital, City Missions of Buffalo, the Food Bank of Western New York and the Ronald McDonald House.

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