by LeeAnne Lavender, Service Learning Coach
A new club in the elementary school is spreading joy all over the Concordia campus. Called Kids 4 Kids and Community, an energetic group of ten students and 1 teacher have successfully achieved four goals to serve the community in this first semester.
Amy Thames, the teacher advisor and founder of the group, is thrilled with how the students have enthusiastically identified ways to serve others. “It has exceeded my expectations,” she says. “In the second semester we might be able to accommodate 20 students in the club, and several students want to continue on from the first semester.”
After investigating potential needs on campus, which involved interviewing community members such as Mrs. Janet Chowning from the Admissions Department and Mr. Jon Baermann from the Operations Department, students identified four goals.
The first was to create a video for new students to help newcomers feel more at home when they arrive at Concordia. The students have been recording various aspects of campus life, from a physical tour to welcome messages; when the video is complete, it will be available on the school website to help onboarding students orient themselves to Concordia before they even have their first day.
The second goal was to appreciate teachers, and on a recent school day, Ms. Thames and the students loaded a breakfast cart with donuts, coffee, tea and juice, and visited every elementary classroom. All ES teachers and teaching assistants (73 in total!) received a breakfast treat and a thank you card. “The students really enjoyed delivering breakfast to the teachers, and you could see how grateful the teachers were,” reflects Ms. Thames.
Goal number three grew out of goal two. On Thanksgiving Day, the Kids 4 Kids and Community crew delivered special travel mugs (with digital displays to indicate the temperature of the beverage inside) and thank you cards to all 31 ayis at Concordia. Funded by the Concordia Fund, this initiative meant a lot to the students because they really wanted to thank the ayis for their hard work keeping the school clean and organized.
After all of these wonderful moments appreciating teachers and ayis, the students wanted to do one more good deed before Christmas break: thank the school leaders. They delivered small potted plants and cards to all leaders and assistants on campus.
“I’ve just been so impressed with the students all semester,” says Ms. Thames.
Cultivating mindsets for sustainable service involves, among other things, being present and grateful, and being able to identify assets and needs in the community. Kids 4 Kids and Community is a stellar example of what it can look like to spread love within our own community. Kind words and gestures of appreciation go a long way to weave a fabric of positivity and generosity.