Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Community Service - It's a Family Affair

As a graduation requirement in our state, students have to complete 75 Student Service Learning Hours.  The purpose, as I understand it, is to instill the concept of giving back and being a positive part of one’s community. Although they do earn a few credits for certain classes (still not sure which those are or why), most of the hours have to be earned doing some type of community service during middle and high school.

I’m proud to say Elle is about 3 hours short of completing her requirement and she’s only in the ninth grade.  She actually would be finished, but her unorganization and forgetfulness has left a few reporting sheets under her bed or jammed in her backpack past the due date.  Breeze is intent on finishing her’s before the end of middle school.  With about 40 hours, I think she’s on track to meet her goal.

Many of the hours, they’ve done together or with me.  I believe that giving doesn’t have to be a solo activity and many of us enjoy working with friends and family for these kinds of activities. For the past few elections, they’ve volunteered as helpers at the polling sites – putting up signs, helping set up the site, handing out “I Voted” stickers, and even holding the place for older and pregnant voters when the lines got long.  They’ve also helped coach little kids tennis camps and cleaned up their school.

As a regular holiday event, their schools have canned food drives and a couple of times, their Girl Scout troops have collected cans, too.  I wanted them to see how great the need was and how their cans contribute to the effort of feeding families in our community.  Last month, we volunteered at the Manna Food Center to pack boxes of non-perishable items for distribution (which also lead into a discussion about "manna.")

For about two hours, we packed cans of vegetables, boxes of pasta, bags of beans, and snacks into almost 150 boxes.  It was nice to watch the kids try to (quickly) pack their boxes thoughtfully: “if we gave them spaghetti, shouldn’t they get the jar of sauce, too?”  “We gave them a can of lima beans, they deserve the box of Oreos.”

I actually thought they might complain a bit about toting around crates of canned food and walking back and forth across the warehouse. I was pleasantly surprised when they taped up their boxes and proudly stacked them on the crate. Then asked when we were coming back.  

We are still on the countdown to #GivingTuesday on Dec. 3.  How will you give?

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