DENVILLE, NJ-- With the current heatwave, outdoor maintenance can be a daunting task for elderly residents. Thanks to Gary Beumee and his crew of boys and girls, residents can call on them to help mow grass in the summer and shovel snow in the winter.
"In the summer, we mow lawns, trim bushes, etc. In the winter, we will shovel driveways and walkways. We also partner with other town organizations to add volunteers when needed, such as rid-litter day, river clean-up and one of our favorite events - Challenger Baseball Day," Beumee said.
For the Beumee family, Gary and his wife are using Helping Hands of Denville as a way to teach their sons about community service and activism. Through their program, many families have joined forces to help the greater Denville community.
"We started with eight, thirteen year old boys and over the years have grown in numbers as well as added girls to our ranks," said Beumee.
In addition to their assistance with snow removal and lawn mowing, the program is active in Valleyview Middle School. The group does not just help the elderly, they help every person in Denville, with even small things like grocery loading.
"We have helped add volunteers to a program at ValleyView Middle School called DEAL, which provides increased social activities with our special needs kids in town. In the last two years, we’ve also been one of the primary sources of volunteers for the Knuth Farms Christmas tree sale. We’ve even just had kids stand outside local supermarkets to assist people with loading their groceries," Beumee said.
Gary may be one of the leaders of the group, but prides himself on the fact that the group is run by the boys and girls involved. He quietly observes leadership skills in the making through Helping Hands.
"I will pick someone to serve as the lead volunteer to send out communication, organize the ‘job site’ and direct the team. It’s been great to see some of the kids who’ve been with us for a while serve as leaders and watch them grow and interact with other adults and seniors," Beumee added. "While we always have some adults around to oversee and mentor when needed, we largely sit back and let the kids do everything,"
Beumee has watched the reaction from the community and couldn't be more proud of what the kids do each time they go out and provide service to the community.
"I think service to the community (and in particular, to those in need) is the most valuable experience for everyone. I often use the phrase with the group that “everyone wins” when you help someone out," Beumee said.
Through these efforts, Beumee leaves his team with one thought. Continue serving the community.
"My hope is that what every kid takes away from this group is the desire to continue to want to serve in some capacity throughout their high school and college years and continue the cycle going forward," Beumee said
If you need assistance or would like to join the Helping Hands of Denville program, Gary Beumee can be contacted through the Helping Hands of Denville Facebook page.