Recently, Cheryl Pinkman, Director at our Barry Road location couldn’t help but brag about the incredible generosity of her parents and enthusiasm of her students. In December, all of our locations conduct food drives for Harvesters, a local organization which distributes consumables to those in need in our own communities. As the holidays came to a close, Cheryl noticed that the effort wasn’t as successful as she had hope – partly due to the newness of the center and partly because it wasn’t promoted well. So, after everyone returned from breaks, she decided to reintroduce the food drive. This time, however, she asked the teachers to “beef” up the pitch to the students, and posted notices everywhere. That did the trick! Those kiddos got so excited, and the parents supported their enthusiasm generously. Teachers incorporated the food drive into daily education activities: counting together the items each student brought, discussing nutrition, celebrating kindness and community involvement, tracking, graphing and categorizing different food, encouraging classmates with healthy competitions. The barrels were literally overflowing, and the students were so proud of what they had accomplished. No one, however, was more proud than Cheryl, who is active in her spare time with other charitable organizations. After the barrels were picked up by Harvesters, the school celebrated the spirit of giving with classroom parties. I reached out to Harvesters directly, and the spokeswoman was overwhelmed with Spectrum’s generosity. She sent a letter directly to the school about specific people the students and parents had helped.
The needs in our community are always on the minds of our teachers and administrators, and each site is encouraged to personalize their charitable efforts. Every time we embark on a new effort, conversations about community, helping one another, and kindness swirl around all of our classrooms. Some of the organizations we have supported in the past include
· MDA Hop-A-Thon
· St. Jude’s
· Operation Breakthrough
· Braden’s Hope
· Foster Family Support
· Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City
Not all of our community outreach is performed in the form of fundraising and donations. Two years ago, a young, sweet child who used to attend Spectrum Station named Amelia was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Amelia’s wish was to make the world a better place, so the foundation organized a special day centered around a community trash pick-up event. Thus, the Amelia Meyer Kindness Project was born. Spectrum Station was honored to help promote the event and the continued effort to grant Amelia’s wish, although she is no longer here to see it fulfilled. We share Amelia’s wish with our students and encourage them to share stories and pictures of how they will make the world better. Parents get involved by posting pictures of them and their child cleaning up their community.
Kids are always excited to share their home experiences with classmates when the lessons coincide, so here are a few resources for books that relate to kindness, compassion and community. You can order these books online at your local library, and they will be ready for easy pick up in just a few days!
· Books That Inspire Children to Change the World
· 10 Children’s Books About Being Kind (I especially love Because Amelia Smiled, by Ezra Stein)
· Books to Teach Generosity and Gratitude
We would like to hear from you about your charitable interests and organizations you would like to see us support in the future. Thank you all so much for your generosity, kindness and commitment to our greater community.