My son has this cute little book by Justine Korman Fontes called I Like Helping. It was one of his first easy readers that he carried around with him everywhere he went. It is about a baby elephant who struggles with the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” His answer is “I want to help when I grow up.” Throughout the book the baby elephant knows that he helps his family, but he also knows of many careers where helping is part of his everyday life. Nick, the baby elephant, can’t decide. Finally, his mother helps (hehehe!) him decide what he can do today by asking if he can help her … eat cookies.
Nick, like so many children, wants to help make the world a better place. Parents want to foster that value, but many do not know where to start. There is this special term that applies to this form of thinking. It is called SERVICE LEARNING.
The definition, as is defined by the National Service-Learning Clearing House, is:
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
Our family has had many opportunities to implement this idea into our everyday lives. We have planted trees in our community, took part in our city’s adopt-a-path program, raised money for many charitable organizations, contributed to many food, clothing, book, and basic hygiene product drives, and even fostered a few grandparents at a local a senior center and home near where we live.
At first it was difficult, just as difficult as Nick, the elephant, felt when trying to decide what career would be best for him. Once we decided, the amazing feelings and the growth that my whole family gained made everything fall into place. Each and every project opened a door to another area where, we as a family, could truly make a difference.
Today I am reaching out to you… as does 7th grade social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet, from the movie PAY IT FORWARD, to make a difference in your neighborhood, community, state, country or even world. I will post daily ideas that you can make your own. Make it a fantastic challenge to either go big or small, but please just go!!
Today’s idea or project is: Donate to you local humane society!
They rely on the generosity of individuals to help them achieve their mission: To build a more compassionate community by teaching humane messages to youth, caring for homeless animals and strengthening the human-animal bond.
Ways to Donate: Make a Cash Donation (Have your family members pool their money together). Purchase Something from Their Wish List. Go To Special Events & Fundraisers Just For This Organization. Donate Your Scrap Gold. Donate Your Vehicle. Volunteer your time, energy and skills at the shelter, or by doing special home-based projects. Join their monthly giving program. Make a planned gift such as a living will, a gift of stock or by naming the organization in your will. Host a Donation Box in your business or work place. Provide for the homeless animals as well as your beloved pets by joining special programs in your area. Purchase a commemorative items to honor a special person or animal in your life. Sponsor an animal.
I do hope you take advantage of this SERVICE LEARNING opportunity. It is one that the whole family can be a part of and is oh so rewarding.
And… Just so you know… You can be like Nick, the elephant and have your cookie and eat it, too!
Have fun, families!! Remember to Always Make the Most of Every Moment!