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|Project Title: ||Honoring Our Veterans|
|School Year: ||2007|
|School - District:||Walter J Paton - Shrewsbury|
|Contact Name:||Kristine Gustafson|
|Contact Phone:||(508) 841-8626|
|Content-Area(s):||Comprehensive Health, English Language Arts, History & Social Sciences|
|Grades:||1, 2, 3, 4|
|Community Need:||Veteran’s Affairs, (human needs/homelessness)|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
This highly successful program, which has been held for the last seven years, enabled students at our elementary school to interact with homeless veterans at Massachusetts Veterans Inc. and provide them with needed personal care products. Students discussed homelessness in their community, learned about the role of veterans, and identified products and routines necessary for personal care. In turn, students organized a collection week for donations such as shampoo, toothpaste, soap, etc, and applied the principles of assembly line work in packing tote bags. Finally, they recited the Pledge of Allegiance and designed cards of appreciation for veterans.
After the items were collected and tote bags assembled, they were delivered to the shelter. In the past, students also had the opportunity to interact with the staff and the veterans residing at the facility. Students have enjoyed their visit and found it to be a very meaningful experience.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
Massachusetts Veteran's Inc, located in Worcester, Massachusetts is a private non- profit emergency shelter providing housing and rehabilitation services to men and women who have served the United States of America. The students provided the veterans with many needed personal care products. This service-learning project has been an annual project for the past seven years and students have responded positively to continuing this community need.
|Service Component: |
Students spent four hours assembling the personal care tote bags and designing cards. Every guest at the facility receives a tote bag. This service-learning project has served as many as eighty veterans at one time. Cumulatively, students have assisted more than five hundred homeless veterans through this project.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
- English Language Arts Learning Standard 3- Students made oral presentations demonstrating appropriate consideration of audience and purpose.
- History and Social Science Standard 5- Students learned formulations of the Golden Rule; they practiced applying it toward the treatment of others.
- History and Social Science Standard 1.2- Students identified and explained the meaning of American national symbols such as the American flag.
- History and Social Science Standard 1.4- Students demonstrated the ability to recite the pledge of allegiance, explain its general meaning, sing nationals songs and explain the lyrics.
- History and Social Science Standard 2.10- Students described and compared different ways people have achieved great distinction, such as military service.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Through group discussions and a needs assessment of the shelter, students decided which items they could donate and fill tote bags with to provide the most benefit to the veterans. Students also plannned and designed cards for the veterans receiving the personal care totes.
|Student Reflection Component: |
There were opportunities for students to discuss their experiences. Students also completed reflection sheets and shared their comments at an assembly. Sample comments from third grade students follow:
“I helped pack bags for the homeless veterans in Worcester with the members of the Student Council and other third graders. I think it was great to donate items to support the veterans because there are people who are in need of these things. I learned to never judge people by what you have, because some people have less than you do.”
“I helped to pack things for the veterans. I’m happy that I helped people who needed it. I learned that many people don’t have the things that we have and take for granted.”
“I spent an hour and a half helping pack the bags for the homeless veterans. I learned that people don’t always have the same options as we do. I feel good because I was making a difference.”
|Community Partners Involved: |
Massachusetts Veteran's Inc., Veterans, students, parents
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
The delivery of totes to the shelter was a culminating event. Photographs of the project are part of the Community Service Learning Display at our school, school newsletter, and school website. Celebratory events highlight student achievement and appreciation for their hard work. This Community Service-Learning Display offers student recognition and also documentation of student work for community display.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
The review and sharing of Reflection Sheets was very informative. Oral and written discussion with the Director at the shelter provided valuable information concerning effectiveness. To assess the project’s impact, program leaders might have initiated student or teacher led discussions in class, focus group discussions with the leaders at the Massachusetts Veteran's Inc., or with the Veterans receiving tote bags in an attempt to evaluate the project's impact on the community.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
This project is institutionalized and embedded in the school culture and curriculum. The curriculum links are appropriate for the students, the need addressed is real, and the veterans are very appreciative. There were no challenges associated with this project.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.