AIG Gives Back
Each school year 5th grade AIG students are introduced to service based learning and are challenged to plan, develop presentations, and collect money and/or supplies for a local charity. In year’s past, Mrs. Seighman, our AIG students, and I have supported the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Union County Animal Services. This year students in Mr. Wikfors’ 5th grade AIG/Nurture classes developed a project to support Turning Point’s Treehouse Children’s Advocacy Center. A Children’s Advocacy Center brings agency professionals involved in a child abuse case together on the front end and puts the needs of the child victim first.
This years’ service based learning project ran from November 5th through November 9th. Students presented to each 4th and 5th grade classroom and challenged each student to bring in a newly purchased stuffed animal to donate to an abused child in need. Every morning throughout the week students revisited their assigned classroom to collect donated stuffed animals. At the end of the week, our students collected over 75 stuffed animals that were donated to Turning Point’s Treehouse Children’s Advocacy Center.
During our project students in Mr. Wikfors’ and in 4th and 5th grade classes learned valuable community service based lessons. As we step back and look at what our students have done, we have seen skills emerge in our students that we have never noticed before this experience. These are skills that will serve our students long into the future and these skills are worth cultivating in all children. Our students have developed the following skills:
- Self-Esteem: The key to lifetime mental health and social happiness is building positive self-esteem. Leading a community service effort is a fantastic way to build a child’s self-esteem.
- How to Ask for Something: A child asking an adult or child for something can sometimes be a challenging task.
- Organizational Skills: Kids have more going on in their lives these days than ever. These demands only get more intense as they get older. It is more important than ever that kids learn to manage their time and organize projects.
- Speaking: Everyone has heard that the number one fear of Americans is public speaking. Whether that is actually true or not, it is VERY intimidating. Through organizing their project, kids will have the opportunity to talk to groups about what they are doing. If they can begin to get comfortable in front of groups at an early age, the sky is the limit as they get older.
- Emotional Intelligence: This type of intelligence may even be more important than a child’s IQ. Emotions are a difficult thing to read and manage, especially for children. Because of the interactions with people during their community service project, kids go through a wide range of emotions, and have to learn to understand and manage those emotions real-time.
- The Power of Action: This lesson is key to helping a child to understand that they can make a difference in the world. No matter how small their action, it can snowball into something that affects others in a powerful way.
- Empathy: Working to help others already requires a certain amount of empathy. Going through the process of developing and executing a service project gives kids the opportunity to connect with what others are going through on a deeper level.
- Leadership: All of the previous skills roll into building the leaders of tomorrow. Giving kids the opportunity to take on a leadership role in their own community service project helps them put everything together and prepare them for the future.
Our next service based learning project will involve Mr. Wikfors’ 4th grade AIG/Nurture students and will take place sometime in the second half of the year.