All Those Leaves!

One of our favorite neighborhood projects brings people together in sharing a job that just about no one really looks forward to. After enjoying the brilliant seasonal glory of all the yellow, red, and purple colors as our Southern Gables trees hunker down for the winter, we have to deal with the aftermath as the glory fades and the leaves fall to the ground. We bring out the rakes. 

Our neighbor Sharon was one of 34 Southern Gables residents who signed up to have their leaves raked up by volunteers for our Southern Gables Neighborhood Association Leaf Day. She wrote to Judy Whitten, the Volunteer Coordinator, to express her feelings after the young volunteers had completed the job, and sent a pretty impressive photo to show off their work. 

November 6, 2021

Hi Judy,

Thank you. Thank you. I appreciated the help of your young leaf raking volunteers yesterday. It was wonderful having such amazing young people in my yard. I enjoyed them. I included a picture to show you how hard they worked. I wanted to tip them but I was told I needed to donate to the school so I did. I appreciated this so much. It meant so much to me.

Sharon Sheppard

Leaves from Sharon’s yard, one of 34 yards raked by volunteers from Denver Christian School for Southern Gables Leaf Day

All the raking volunteers were from Denver Christian School. Denver Christian has a long history of volunteer community service with their students, and the Friday leaf raking in our neighborhood was a part of that tradition. 1

The bagged leaves were all picked up by yet more volunteers on Saturday morning, and taken to the Green Gables Elementary School parking lot where Doug Whitten had arranged for three large dumpsters to receive them to go to a composting facility. Keeping this much organic material from being wasted, and keeping it from taking up space in a landfill, is a big benefit of our Leaf Day project. In addition to all the leaves raked by the Friday volunteers, on Saturday many of our Southern Gables neighbors brought their own raked and bagged leaves to the collection site. Before the morning was half over, a fourth dumpster had to be brought in. Even after that, according to Doug, “Regrettably, we had to stop receiving leaves as we had nowhere to put them.  Our dumpsters were completely full after being compressed.”

Activity at the collection site on Saturday. The combined total of leaves brought in Saturday was 987 bags, compressed in the dumpsters to 80 cubic yards for composting.

Leaf stompers Carolyn Wolfrum and Bruce Loftis surveying the scene

The Saturday crew included the Whittens, Ken Fischer and his dump truck, and Greg Abelein with his truck. Trent and Margaret Freedman went around the neighborhood picking up leaves as well. The collection station was manned by Bruce Loftis, Monica Abelein, Monica Norval, Carolyn Wolfrum, Courtney & Jack App, Deb Martin, Kathy Bunzli, Drew from Westwoods Community Church, and several others along with a few of our neighborhood kids from Lakewood High School and Carmody Middle School. 

The cost of the dumpster rental and hauling to the composting facility was only made possible by the dues paying members of the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association.

As Doug said, “Your help is appreciated by all. In addition, we had a donation jar for the Make A Wish Program at Green Gables Elementary School. Those who brought leaves DONATED $281.OO for Make A Wish!  THANK YOU.” 


  1. See DCS website, “Serving the Community One Yard at a Time” for story and pictures of the students’ work on this project.

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