I am writing as a Keene resident and also as a middle-school educator in the area.

This past year I have had the distinct honor and privilege to work with a brilliant group of 7th and 8th-grade students who each day teach me lessons in kindness, awareness, social justice, advocacy and humanness. In the fall we began some place based work in the downtown Keene community.

We specifically walked Main Street and made observations about what makes our community a healthy one for our residents and children, and what we thought we could do to improve it. The students remarked on the accessibility of the businesses and on the beauty of the landscaping, and how the downtown community seems to discreetly be encouraging us to live healthy lifestyles.

The students, driven to make their community and the world a little better than they find it, also noticed the number of recycling bins and their placement. The students measured distances and poured over studies around why people do and do not recycle; what motivates them. They reviewed other communities and their health and happiness ratings and even reached out to the mayor of our sister city, Einbeck, Germany, to inquire how they manage their recycling.

The students prepared a proposal to increase the number of recycling bins and created a cost analysis of doing so after contacting manufacturers are obtaining quotes. Each student wrote a letter to each member of the City Council, the city planner, Mayor Lane and the conservation commission, as well as, each member of municipal services, facilities, and infrastructure committee.

I would like to thank the two that responded, City Manager Elizabeth Dragon, on behalf of the Honorable Mayor Lane, and Mr. Rhett Lamb, who received two letters for his two different roles, and who sent two responses, each written specifically to each of the students addressing their unique concerns. These responses meant so much to our students and I wanted to appreciate these community leaders from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to and reply to our community’s youth.

Sincerely,

SARAH WIREIN-RUDY

97 South Lincoln St.

Keene