Do you participate in service learning opportunities for Make a Difference Day? We do. We have participated for many years. We have helped out numerous organizations outside of our community. A few of our past projects were raising money for Grand Isle school after Hurricane Katrina destroyed books and equipment, providing shoes for third world nations, and providing books and activities for children at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our fifth graders plan and run the activity. This year's theme for us was Places to Go and People to See.
The idea for this year's project came to me last spring when our kindergarten buddies had to cancel a field trip to the local zoo. Admission and transportation costs were going to exclude a number of students. Students that could not pay the full cost could not go. They came up with a last minute replacement activity, but teachers, students, and parents were disappointed. With that in mind, and our own outdoor education experience ahead of us, we decided to collect change to help defray the cost of the transportation and some of the admission price for each grade level's field trip. We sent a note home inviting parents and/or businesses to sponsor individual trips as well. Our kindergartners had parents and grandparents sponsor their transportation costs, so they will get to go to the zoo this year.
We are still collecting money for a few more days so we don't have a total yet. My students did "bag" each grade level's money, and were happy to report that the fifth graders needed a second bag!
Students got the opportunity to see the impact they can have on our community by collecting loose change. It is truly amazing how quickly change can add up.
If you don't participate in service learning projects, consider one, it can have profound impact on students and the community.