This year at Forest Glen School, the PTA parents are focusing on giving to others while they celebrate holiday parties. In the past, some classes did service projects on their own, if the parents for that room decided to do so. Often schools do grand projects when a world wide event occurs like the Haiti earthquake and the tsunami in Thailand. This year the PTA suggested that every homeroom do at least one service project throughout the year at one of the standard holiday parties it does in the classroom. This would help balance all the wonderful treats the children receive with some focus on giving.
Of course it was not required, but encouraged, and the response from parents was overwhelming. Many classrooms have done projects for all of its parties thus far. I asked Forest Glen’s head room parent, Christy Rosenthal, to collect all the service projects that were done so far, and I thought it would be a great thing to share with our community and to provide other schools with ideas for their own projects. I know that the other schools do several different things in their own buildings, but here are some of the projects from Forest Glen students:
Mrs. Bersheim’s second grade classroom donated items for animals that would be donated to a shelter at which one of the parents volunteers. They were able to collect several great items. Mrs. Grodowski’s class made five blankets for several different nursing homes.
Mrs. Carapella’s kindergarten class did a project called “Operation Shoebox.” Before Halloween they asked each child to bring in one or two items small enough to fit in a shoebox. The shoeboxes would be packed for a boy or girl within a certain age range (2-4, 5-9, 10-14) and then sent to children in need all around the world. They received enough items to fill 14 shoeboxes. The boxes contained items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, pencils, toys, socks and special treats. It turned out that their particular boxes were received by children in India, just in time for Christmas.
Mrs. Schmutz’s first grade class made blankets and donated them to the Wheaton Convalescent Center. Mrs. Kostner’s third grade class made felt-tied fringe scarves for 30 kids and donated them to PADS. Mr. Casper’s fifth grade class made cards along with goodie bags to be taken to seniors at Emeritus Assisted Living in Prospect Heights. There were given to the Alzheimer’s Unit.
Mr. Andres’ fifth grade class collected books for OWL. OWL is a nonprofit literacy tutoring program for refugee children here in Glen Ellyn. It is part of the St. Petronille Outreach Refugee Ministry. The children of OWL come from various war-torn nations and have unique needs. Many of the parents are illiterate and unable to help with school assignments. OWL volunteers tutor children and provide homework help four days during the week and on Saturday. They are, of course, in need of books, so this project was a wonderful way to support OWL.
Finally, Mrs. Nelson’s second grade class made birthday bags for the food pantry. Each child was asked to bring in a cake mix, frosting, candles, party plates and napkins along with a bag in which to put them in. The kids also made birthday cards to go along with the bags. The idea behind it was to give a child in need a birthday party who may not otherwise have one.
These were just a handful of the many projects that have been done so far this year at Forest Glen. I think it is wonderful when we can give our children the joy of giving to others while we celebrate our own special days at school.
I personally have been in a room during a project like this and the kids get so much joy out of making something for someone else. We live in an incredible town where many of us are extremely fortunate to have what we need and many things we do not need. It is important for all of us to remember to help others and that there are people in need in our own community—not just all over the world. I congratulate Forest Glen School for showing kids the joy of giving.
If your school is doing something wonderful, please email me about it so we can share it with our community.