The ninth annual Great Greenwood Giveaway (GGG) free garage sale is coming up on April 27 at Greenwood Elementary in River Falls.

"We serve roughly 800 people each year who can shop at the GGG for free," said Principal Nate Shurman. "Donations for the GGG come directly from our Greenwood families and anything that isn't taken at the GGG goes to the Salvation Army or to Goodwill. Randy Deiss donates a semi trailer that holds all the donations until the Friday of the event, when students and staff work together to transition and organize all the items in the gym."

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This year, the GGG will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Due to construction all shoppers must enter through the north side of the building.

"Greenwood is committed to providing service learning opportunities for students," said Shurman, "as we believe service learning experiences promote the growth of character traits, such as cooperation, compassion, citizenship, respect and responsibility in our students."

Shurman said the GGG was developed to support this mission.

"The objective of the GGG is to give back to the community, especially those in need," Shurman said, "while strengthening character traits within our students, staff and parents."

Shurman said the GGG gives Greenwood a platform to help students learn about its nine character traits: courage, citizenship, compassion, cooperation, perseverance, positive attitude, respect, responsibility and honesty.

"This tangible connection not only strengthens the importance of the GGG but also supports overall character development in our students," Shurman said. "By involving teachers, parents and the community in the GGG, we have given students an experience that crosses school boundaries into all aspects of our students' lives.

"We are hopeful that these experiences will lead to a lifelong understanding of what it means to be a person of high character."

Shurman said the GGG teaches students to think of others first and develop empathy and compassion.

"Our students now have personal experiences in giving to others without the motivation of any type of material compensation," he said. "Students have developed a sense of pride and excitement around giving, and although 'getting' is still a big piece of what makes elementary students tick, they are beginning to see that joy can be found on the other side of the coin as well."

He said the school-wide commitment to the GGG gives students a common cause, and a collective sense of purpose.

"The language of service and character can be heard throughout the school," he said, "which has empowered teachers to take action in the teaching of character traits just as they do with reading and writing.

"Through our attempts to give back to the River Falls community, Greenwood Elementary School has truly found itself on the receiving end, and just like for our visitors, it didn't cost us a dime."