Good Kids Doing Great Things
"It's amazing what kids can do when they are given the time and space to dream of something they want to do to make the world a better place, make a plan, and then see it come to fruition,” says MS French teacher Shari Belanger. She was referring to a group of 6th grade girls who had just the delivered more than 50 craft kits to UMass Children’s Medical Center to be distributed to the children who are hospitalized. The photo shows them delivering their gifts. Pictured L to R are: Sophia H, Amira C, Mrs. Belanger, Tori O, Tasha T, Maia A, Keeley B, Bridgette C, and Medical Center Director Melissa Luman. “This is a particularly neat story that grew out of something new in the Middle School schedule,” Mrs. Belanger explains. “This year we instituted a once-per-cycle Project Period, a 1.25-hour block of time when the entire grade is free at the same time.”
The grade-level teams decide how they will use their Project Period time. The 6th grade decided to run five-session mini-courses. The girls signed up for Mrs. Belanger's mini-course called The Art of Serving Others. After brainstorming and researching, they knew they wanted to do something for kids in the hospital, and discovered that the UMass Children's Medical Center was asking for donations of homemade craft kits.
They sponsored a bake sale, a hot chocolate sale, and a dress down day to raise funds and netted $160, which they used to shop for supplies. Then, with kind hearts and lots of collaborative energy, they assembled 50+ kits for making cute critters, journals, friendship bracelets, valentines, and greeting cards. From brainstorm to budget to delivery, these students designed and executed the entire project.
Hospital rules prevented them from distributing gifts directly to the patients, so they left them with Ms. Luman, who promised to get them to the children. “The girls spent the entire car ride back to school from UMass making plans to earn more money, buy more supplies, and put together more craft kits,” said Mrs. Belanger. “It's not over for them. They feel like they've just started."
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