A GEF Grant you Should Know About…
Third Graders Learn First-Hand the Impact of Volunteering and Giving Back to Community
This school year every third grader in District 34 was touched by a grant that was co-sponsored by the Glenview Education Foundation and the District 34 Primary/Intermediate PTAs and PTA Council. Coordinated in conjunction with the non-profit organization, The Kindness Connection, the goal of the grant was to provide a meaningful service learning opportunity for all third graders in the district.
During the November through April timeframe, close to 600 third grade students at Hoffman, Glen Grove and Pleasant Ridge spent time learning why volunteering and giving back to their community is so important. Facilitated by volunteers from The Kindness Connection
, with assistance from the third grade teachers, the children were able to select which groups they wanted to help. The projects they decided on are listed below.
- Making school book bags for children at Children's Memorial Hospital
- Decorating letter blocks for Head Start preschool programs
- Making pot holders for Meals on Wheels
- Creating braided dog toys and decorating folders for newly adopted shelter animals
- Decorating flowerpots for elderly recipients
- Making holiday cards for veterans
- Stuffing teddy bears and making handmade cards for children at Evanston Hospital
Said Glen Grove third grade teacher, Markus Hartnett, “The crafts students assembled helped local causes, which allowed students to lend a helping hand right outside their front door. Reaching out to local causes made the learning experience all the more meaningful and authentic.”
In addition to actual hands-on project work, The Kindness Connection also resulted in extended classroom learning on the importance of empathy, charity and volunteering. These were lessons that were carried over to, and incorporated into, social studies and writing classes.
Said one Pleasant Ridge third grader about her involvement
with The Kindness Connection, “It made me feel good because I knew that the people and animals who were getting the things we made would be happy.”
“My students were unaware of the impact that they as eight- and nine-year-olds could have by helping other people,” noted Hoffman third grade teacher, Allison Greene. “They learned all about empathy and began to brainstorm ways they could continue to give back throughout the entire year. They had so much fun, learned a lot about being good citizens, and were so proud of themselves for the impact they had!”