Fall floral project supports service

 JULIE HUSS/Staff photoChildren join in with members of the Windham Garden Club to plant bulbs in front of the historic Searles School in Windham.

WINDHAM — A historic spot will see the fruits of some fall labors next spring when bulbs sprout at the Searles School and Chapel.

A simple bulb planting project at the building on Chapel Road emerged as more of a collaborative effort on Oct. 1 when garden club members and other Searles supporters joined with children to perform a service project, planting dozens of tulip and daffodil bulbs in front of the building.

Jessica Weller, founder of an organization Kids in Kindness, brought children to Searles School for the planting effort, a way to teach children the importance of service and helping others in the community.

The organization is for children up through age 12 and is in its fifth year, Weller said. The group also takes on projects to support the homeless, an "adopt-a-grandparent" program at a local nursing facility and other ways to support those in need.

Weller said she is looking for ways to give the children an appreciation of what service to others means.

Searles School and Chapel is a town-owned building managed by a board of trustees. It was built between 1907 and 1909 and was a gift to the town by Edward Searles for use as a tow-room school house. It served that purpose until the 1970s when ownership passed to the town. It is now used as a function facility with proceeds supporting its care and restoration.

Part of the restoration includes the bulb planting, the first of a multi-year project to give the Searles building some landscaping support. More projects include interior woodwork restoration, lighting and acoustic upgrades.  To learn more about Searles School and Chapel or ways to support the restoration, visit searleschapel.com.

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