After the 4th grade students at Florence Elementary read about how coral reefs were made and learning about the damage humans have done to our waterways, oceans, and reefs, they decided they wanted to focus on saving coral reef ecosystems and protect water resources that animals and humans depends on for survival. They named their project “Coral Reef Relief.” Students participated in a variety of activities to bring awareness for the need of preserving our waterways, water ecosystems, and coral reefs to Florence Elementary, local, and national communities. The students researched coral reefs and each student chose a specific coral reef animal or plant to present on or create a paper model of for an ocean mural.
Because students wanted to help support conservation of reefs and oceans, they analyzed several organization that help with relief efforts. They chose Living Lands and Waters, a non-profit organization that focuses on caring for, and educating people about local waterways. They also chose The Nature Conservancy, whose scientists work with people around the world to protect water ecosystems.
To help with the project, students and staff were asked to donate $1 for a ticket to a school movie pajama party. The students chose Finding Dory as the movie because of the ocean/ coral reef connection. In total, they raised $576 that was divided amongst the two charities. To make community connections and to get an expert testimony, a guest speaking from Living Lands and Waters is scheduled to visit. The students will be going to the Newport Aquarium to participate in a behind the scenes activity that focuses on how biologists care for marine animals and will allow students to see special exhibits on rivers and coral reefs.
After attending a retreat to find out about the homeless and the agencies that help them in Northern Kentucky, the students of St. Joseph organized a Color Run to raise funds for those agencies. They raised $1500 in total. They also collected sample sized toiletries to donate, totaling 9 boxes in all.
Forty-four students were able to engage the entire school in the service learning project. They worked with Welcome House, Parish Kitchen, and Emergency Drop In Center NKY.
While on the retreat, students did small group activities about the causes of homelessness and how one can help the situation by meeting immediate needs but also by changing policy. This helped them decide to do the sample size toiletry drive involving the school and the color run involving the community.
They printed fliers, made fact signs posted along the course about homelessness, created logo for t-shirts, invited other schools to run, contacted newspaper for advertising, filled bottles and “manned” the color stations, laid out the course and created a live band that 2 students and their Dads played during the run.
Most of the students worked the event but a few did participate as well. All this work helped change the students’ opinions of homeless people and elicited a true feeling of compassion and wanting to help the less fortunate.
For 11 days, Woodfill Elementary School bound together to help Puerto Rico in a time a crisis. After Hurricane Maria hit, students at Woodfill designed and created commercials, posters, T-Shirts, a video, and a campaign to raise funds for Puerto Rico. Each classroom collected change that was counted daily and 178 T-Shirts were sold saying, “Soy Líder, Desde KY a Puerto Rico, Ayudamos a nuestros amigos” which translates to “I am a Leader, from KY to Puerto Rico, We help our friends.”
They raised $2,000 and partnered with NKU LIFE (Latino Institute for Excellence), who matched their donation. In total, they sent $4,000 to Comité Pro-Desarrollo de Maunabo, a non-profit, community-based organization in southeastern Puerto Rico to help the Puerto Ricans and the nature preserve.
The students at Woodfill Elementary School take Spanish class twice weekly. This service learning project inspired students to help others in their time of need, and develop compassion for others. The students decided when the fundraiser would take place, how they would implement both a change competition as well as sales of T-Shirts in Spanish. The students promoted and managed it all. Students were divided into teams based on their interests. Several students designed a commercial to play for the whole school to inform them of the fundraiser. Students also stayed after school making information posters about the hurricane and Puerto Rican culture. All students participated in some way. The whole school was involved.
The students of Woodfill Elementary really understood the devastating impact of the hurricane. They knew that their donations would go far in helping to have an environmental as well as cultural impact. The school wanted to make certain their donations would go somewhere much needed. Comité Pro-Desarrollo de Maunabo helps to preserve the environment with their annual march. They also service children and the physically impaired from their green house. Woodfill Elementary School are confident that their impact will go a long way to help people who really need it in Puerto Rico.
For the month of April, the entire school of St. Henry, from the Diocese of Covington, collected items for the newly reformed St. Vincent de Paul. The project was called Feeding God’s Children.
They were able to provide 1,200 non-perishable food items to the partner organization, supported by Catholic Order of Foresters– a Catholic life insurance company that help its members achieve financial security while supporting their Catholic community through fraternal outreach. Many of St. Henry’s alumni become members of the Catholic Order of Foresters. There are currently 400 members. St. Henry works regularly with this organization to implement outreach programs throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area.
Students learned about the importance of charity throughout the year in Religion class and put their social skills to work by interaction with members of the public to consolidate food items for those in poverty.
Students had open discussions during religion and theatre class about the importance of the project and the impact they are making on the local community.
Through completing journal worksheets and creating short skits, the students were able to creatively think about and consider how else they can improve their mission of outreach.
From September to May, sophomore students at Notre Dame Academy visited with the Sisters of Notre Dame once a month for discussion and fellowship. The Sisters of Notre Dame of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province in Covington, Kentucky are consecrated women missioned in the Church to proclaim God’s goodness and provident care by living Gospel values in vibrant communities, by promoting Catholic education, especially for women, and for children in urban and mission schools, and by fostering the fullness of life, especially for people who are poor, sick, and aged.
Many of the sisters are not able to get out in the community as often as they used to. The students provided them hospitality and conversation, as well as teaching them some technology activities such as taking a selfie, using Snapchat, etc. In their class, students worked on bettering their communication skills under the areas of writing, listening, and speaking. This project allowed the students to communicate through speaking when they met once a month with the Sisters. They were also required to listen to the responses of the sisters. Upon return to school from their visits, the students were required to write a reflection based on the conversations they had. Each month they picked a different topic to discuss with only one rule- the questions had to have been able to be answered by the students and the sisters. For example, on their first meeting, the sisters talked about their decision to become a religious sister of Notre Dame and the students spoke on their decision to attend Notre Dame Academy.
The genuine need for this service project was companionship and the Sisters’ desire to connect with the NDA students in this generation. At the NDA all school assembly a few weeks ago, the students stood up to present their project to the student body. A few Sisters were able to come and were asked to present alongside. To hear the words of the sisters as to how deeply the project affected them, left not a single dry eye in the audience.
While the initial set up was orchestrated by the teacher, the students took the ball and ran with it. They set up the meeting times, questions, reflections, and follow up after their meetings. They learned the importance of good communication skills, the importance of companionship, and improved their writing and speaking skills in the process.