Thursday, December 15, 2011

Adopt a Family

Even our very youngest students have the power to make our community a better place to live. Giving students these kinds of opportunities is an important cornerstone of our our District's mission.
Ric Dressen @EdinaSuper

Dinnertime at our house offers an opportunity to talk about your day, and to give  “highlight” and a “lowlight” if you choose. As you can imagine, conversations with a 6, 4, and 1-year-old are quite rich and filled with the breath of simplicity. 

One night, our first-grader came to the table quite eager to share his highlight. Neither recess, lunch, gym, music, or art made the list that night. “I need to work to earn money to give to school for a kid!” he exclaimed.  He went on to explain that he was to do a job and earn money to share with a kid who wouldn’t have any presents this year. We asked him what job he would like to do to earn money. It would have to be above and beyond his normal routine. As he left dinner that night, the wheels were turning behind those blue eyes as he mulled over just what that special job would be.

Our fabulous first grade teacher, Mrs. Davis, had sent an e-mail home explaining that for the second year on a row, Countryside was working with Volunteers of America’s Adopt a Family-MN program.  This special service-learning project would affect every kid at school if they were willing to jump in and serve. Kids were to do some work to earn money and donate it to a classroom fund. Each classroom in the school had adopted one individual and set out to make them smile, to make a difference. The individual had written a wish listl and parent volunteers, with earned money in hand, would go shop for this child, wrap the gifts and deliver them. 

“Shoveling!”  It finally came to that smiling face as the flakes began to fly one Saturday morning.  That was a job he could do to earn money. He did the whole sidewalk, and proceeded to the back yard to attack the deck. “I’m done,” he said with a cranky face when half the deck was completed. “This is too much.”   

“Lots of work?” I asked.  

“Yes. I need a break, water, and a snack." We chatted over water and snack about just how much work it is to really give. He smiled, realizing what his gift would mean to someone. His crankiness turned back to joy and he finished the job. When I handed him the envelope filled with ones, he broke into a smile. Giving is good. It feels good. It is good. 

Last week, 24 lives were touched by the hard work of the Countryside students living out their ICCAR ethical values. What a gift to all of us, not just handing over the money, but really helping our kids get in touch with giving. 

I truly love this community--our teachers, staff, parents, and kids. Thank you for living the ICCAR values and teaching our kids to step out and serve. What a gift it is for our kids to know that they have the power to make a difference in the lives of others. 

Sarah Wohlrabe

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