Erpenbeck Elementary – Scarf It Up For Those In Need

Erpenbeck Elementary School is a culture of engaged learning and deep compassion.

Second graders have put their learning into action to support Scarf It Up, a local nonprofit. This organization makes handmade scarves and they are in need of hats, gloves and mittens. Student teacher Alena Harthun has been leading an interdisciplinary unit in Mrs. Schreckenhofer’s 2nd grade class from MLK Day and culminating February 17. After studying climate, reading The Mitten Tree, and carrying out research using observations and surveys, the students collected winter hats, gloves/mittens for community members served by  Scarf it Up. Second graders counted, sorted, and charted the donations, and will present them to Scarf It Up with friendly notes and good wishes.

Holy Family School – Helping the Homeless

Holy Family Blanket and Teddy BareOn a warm day in mid October, educator Joan Myers-Hinzman, her colleague Beth Vieth, and Executive Director Kim Webb of the Emergency Shelter of NKY met at Holy Family School in Covington to discuss the needs of their community.  As a reoccurring School of Contribution, Holy Family has participated annually in service learning projects instilling civic engagement into their student body.  Bringing the Emergency Shelter of NKY to the table this year would provide the school with an unfiltered picture of homelessness, and increase the student’s awareness of homelessness in the community.

On November 30, Holy Family gathered its students for a canned food drive kick off assembly including a presentation given by Kim Webb.  She described not only what homelessness is, but also what her organization does to help.

“We are the only emergency shelter in NKY that provides emergency night time sheltering for adults in our region.  We are also the only shelter that accepts those actively addicted, ( also those that are) handicapped accessible and takes a direct referral from hospitals, jails and local law enforcement. Our winter life saving shelter is open from November 1- March 31 and when we are below freezing, we work hard to not turn any adult away that needs shelter. We are the safety net for adults.  This winter we have sheltered over 400 adults that needed a safe and warm place to sleep at night.”

Following the assembly Kim visited individual classrooms inviting the students to participate in age appropriate discussions.  From stuffing back packs to debunking myths, 65 students grades K-8 reflected together about uncomfortable topics such as homelessness, hunger, poverty, and unemployment.

By mid-December, 788 canned foods were hand delivered to Our Savior and St. Benedict Church Food Pantries.  But the students’ involvement didn’t end there.  As Catholic Schools Week in February approached, students organized and raffled a 53” teddy bear donated by Airport Ford, and also eight flannel tie blankets to raise money towards snack bag contents for the guests at the emergency shelter.  The students raised $118.00! Then snack bags were decorated, filled, and delivered in the first week of February.

Through this service learning project, not only did the students experience a greater depth of knowledge, but they helped meet a real community need.  Kim Webb believes service learning is an opportunity to inspire.

“Service Learning has had a tremendous impact at the Emergency Shelter of NKY in several ways.  Every donation has a direct impact on guests when they are in shelter. On our end, service learning has allowed the opportunity to educate the community and inspire the next generation of volunteers and donors in the world.”

Woodland Middle School’s Love for Reading

Continuing on with the legacy of Ms. Mary Siereveld’s commitment to service, Woodland Middle School Students decided to lend their talents in organizing a book drive to benefit the Northern Kentucky branch of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Students held the book drive during the weeks prior to Winter Break in an effort to provide comfort to fellow kids in the community. On January 18th, Ms. Siereveld and eight of her students had the privilege of delivering nearly 1400 books! As a special treat, students also had the opportunity to take a tour and learn about a variety of health care careers with Operations Coordinator, Ami Blackburn.

Ami was so impressed with the students and their collection of books stating, “The books entertain our patients and pass the time while they wait to see the doctor. Reading is a perfect opportunity to bond with a child. Our Speech coordinator was extremely excited–the bookcase in the Speech waiting room has been empty for quite some time.”

We look forward to Ms. Siereveld’s classes continuing their good works as they connect their love of reading and sharing it with others.

Learn more about Ms. Siereveld’s story and charitable fund (Mary’s Sock Fund) to support individuals at the UC Brain Tumor Center and her students’ commitment to service at the following links:

Camp Ernst Middle School – Passion and Service-Based Learning

Susan Howard, an innovative teacher and leader at Camp Ernst Middle School (Boone, KY),  drives service learning and project-based learning by sharing their students’ service learning experiences.  Beginning in 2015-2016, she and her students created and maintain a wonderful online resource at  The website includes stories of student “trail blazers”; their community contributions and growth as civic leaders.

Teddy “Bare” Challenge 2017

Children, Inc. Service Learning Coordinators prepare the bears to help your students address the “bare” necessities in their communities!

Click for the Teddy “Bare” Application


Sometimes, a simple thing can lead to deep learning.

We invite your students to create a purpose for one of the 3 huggable, plush teddy bears donated by Airport Ford!

All grade level students are invited to get creative, engage in research, read, interview, survey…. and then design a compassionate purpose for one of three adorable bears in such a way that they develop new knowledge, skills, and address a bare necessity in our region. Students and teachers can integrate the bear’s purpose into any subject area; but must connect to content while including student voice and a meaningful service/need.

 Applications must be emailed or faxed to Children, Inc. Service Learning Initiative by
5PM on January 26, 2017.
Fax 859.431.3385

Schools as Change Agents

Children, Inc., the Jefferson Award Foundation, and Cincinnati area sponsors recognized 33 K-12 schools as Schools of Contribution for their civic contributions during the 2015-2016 school year. Each school received this recognition for their ongoing success in implementing Service Learning into the classroom and community.  Because of these schools, not only is the community being positively impacted, but the students are practicing compassion and developing a deeper understanding for how to use their skills to make a difference in the world.

Reflecting upon elements of a successful service learning experience, St. Philip teacher  Jennifer Twehues says, “A successful Service Learning project starts and ends with the students.  Projects must be student driven and student centered in order to be successful.  This influences our students’ daily lives and gives them a voice in a better society.  students take away a life skill that encompasses compassion and gratitude.”

Students and teachers are partnering with social service agencies, civic organizations, businesses, and others to investigate and respond to needs in their own community. Sharing their expertise and often being the recipients of students services, community partners are essential to the success of service learning experiences. New Hope Food Pantry is one of many reoccurring community agency partners impacted by students throughout this region.  Ms. Twehues describes her school’s experiences with community partners as “fulfilling, rewarding, and gratifying”.