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If you ever wondered if a child at the age of 8 could create change in the world your answer is in this story.
Pauline Johnson School in West Vancouver was the first to join the 365give Challenge as a pilot program. Their 10 weeks of giving is now complete and the results have been remarkable. You will read in this guest post by Lindsay Storry, grade 2 teacher, how one class can create social good in just 5 days.
“Part of what I have enjoyed most about being a part of this great project has been the enthusiasm of the students as they work so well together to accomplish our class goals. Although our Gives have always aimed to benefit other people, animals, or the environment, the benefits that we have gained in return are, in my opinion, immeasurable! Hopefully these experiences will translate into lifelong giving, in some capacity or another, for the students. In the meantime the students are keen to do more and were quick to point out that we still have another 3 months left in Grade 2 that could be put to good use as far as giving. So while the 365Give Challenge has officially come to a close, it sounds like the students are keen to keep going. And having witnessed all of their passion, enthusiasm, excitement, and teamwork, I won’t be the one to stand in their way of changing the world, one give at a time!”
Day 1 – Animal Awareness Video
We had some great discussions around endangered animals and the fair and equitable treatment of animals which acted as a spring board for our first Give. The students had wanted to build animal awareness in the school community and beyond by creating a video. I have given the students creative license to make this video as they see fit, with only a few guidelines: the students will work cooperatively in a group of their choosing, and they must create a video that has an educational message. However they choose to go about relaying their message is up to them! Today we spent time planning things out in our groups, as well as working on the computers to create some props. We have some groups who will be acting out their message, and others who will take a journalist approach, but all the students have been highly engaged and working well together.
Day 2 – Clean up at Dundarave
On this gorgeous sunny day, we set out on a lovely walk through the community on our way down to Dundarave Beach to do our clean-up. Mr. Hugh Hamilton, an experienced and knowledgeable volunteer with the local Stream Keepers organization, met us there and taught us all so much about how valuable and important this work is to the local environment. We learned that the beach must be clean in order for the smelt to lay their eggs, and the ocean must be clean so that the fry have a comfortable environment to hide in while they prepare to swim out to sea. The students had a fabulous time exploring along the sea shore and discovering as many interesting creatures as they did garbage! The students were highly engaged and had so much fun – it was tough to tear them away at the end of the day! It is clear that on a day like this, there is no better classroom than the great outdoors!
Day 3 – Low-Impact Day
The students decided that they wanted to do another give for the environment, but this time they chose a different format. The students chose a low-impact day at school whereby we do our best not to use any electricity, which includes all electronic devices. With the sun shining, the classroom was still well lit, and the students barely noticed that the lights were not on. However, we quickly discovered that our regular classroom routine was slightly interrupted with a lack of electricity, and thus no internet connection. When doing the calendar routine in the morning, we had to go outside to check a thermometer in order to know the temperature. When students asked me the translation of a particular word in French, we had to use a dictionary to do our search, rather than an iPad. And some of our favourite activities like dance breaks weren’t possible at all!
At the end of the day we discussed how the students felt about being “unplugged”. Most found it quite easy with very little adjustment, while others lamented the fact that there was no music or use of technology. Truthfully, I think that I was the one who had the hardest time being un-plugged all day! It was a good lesson for us all!
Day 4 – Saying “Thanks” to the firefighters
As soon as the bell rang we headed off on a walk to our local West Vancouver fire hall. We met Firefighter Dan who greeted us and invited us in. He introduced us to Firefighter Jeff who was busy sweeping and explained that each day they have various chores to do in order to keep the hall in tip top shape, just like the firefighters. And then all of the sudden the alarm went and he jumped into action, putting his gear on, and running out to the fire truck – they were off to an emergency! Luckily, Marcia, was available to chat with us about fire safety…all in French! When it was time to leave we presented the Chief with our three bags of freshly baked cookies and thanked him for the service of his fire department. He promised to relay our message to the firemen who had been called out on an emergency, and to share the cookies too! Just as we were saying our goodbyes, Firefighter Dan came back in time for us to present him with the cookies! He seemed quite pleased, and the kids were excited too as they walked away with tattoos and key chains.
Day 5 – Sale: Popcorn and school supplies
The students have been gearing up all week for this sale and many had been predicting that this would be their favourite Give of all! We already had a bag full of school supplies to put out, and a couple bags of popcorn. The morning was spent in groups preparing for the sale as we needed to decide on prices and mark each item accordingly. We needed to make signs that advertise the items for sale, as well as where to line up to make your purchases. The morning flew by and the students were a flurry of cooperative activity – it was truly great to see! The students quickly learned that there’s a lot of math that goes into running a store. Albeit short, the small recess was our most successful as we raised $152 in 15 minutes! We raised another $30 at lunch (there really wasn’t much left to sell!). One of the students in the class also donated his birthday money to the cause, so we managed to raise a grand total of $252 for Change Heroes!!!
It just goes to show that an enthusiastic bunch of Grade 2 students can make anything happen!
A very special thank you to Lindsay Storry and her class for making such a positive impact on the world. Your week of giving was truly inspiring.
change the world one day at a time.
Two years ago I committed to “give” every day for one year. I did this to teach my 3 year old son the importance of giving and to inspire people to give more in their lives.
Two years later and only a few new posts after completing our 365give journey my husband and I have adopted two more children. Every moment of my day is now dedicated to giving back to my family.
This week VancouverMom wrote an article that has inspired me to find the time to write again. Along with Earth Day fast approaching- April 22, 2013 – this post is all about giving back to our planet. VancouverMom in partnership with SPUD.ca is looking for Vancouver’s Greenest Family. When you have a large family ( we are 7 plus 2 dogs) you have to consider the carbon footprint you make every day. We make choices in our family on a day to day basis to make a positive impact on the environment. After completing 365 “gives” I came to realization that many of our daily gives were giving back to the planet. We have started to teach our 2 year old many of these green lessons and our 1 year old will soon follow.
365give Top 10 Ways to Give Back to the Planet.
Just follow the link for a full post on each daily give and you too can change the world one day at a time.
Walk, walk and walk some more. We committed to being a one car family a long time ago. The one car we do have is an eco-friendly car (a 7 seater at that!) and we walk, bus and bike our way around our neighbourhood, to work and to school. This give will help you discover your carbon footprint by using alternative methods of transportation. We saved .52 tons of CO2 by just walking to complete our daily activities instead of driving. What about you?
My Bag and Me is still one of my son’s favourite stories and is fast becoming his younger brothers. This story is about a boy that brings a shopping bag to the grocery store and how it helps the planet one bag at a time. During our year of giving we brought bags with us shopping to Whole Foods. With every bag we bring and fill with groceries Whole Foods donates 10 cents to a local charity. We calculated a donation of over $50.00 that year and we helped the planet one bag at a time. Giving at it’s best!
I have 3 boys and I can only imagine the number of running shoes we will go through in the coming years. Not only have I kept my oldest son’s shoes to reuse for his younger brothers but when they are truly worn out including my own and my husbands we bring them to a Nike Store. Nike’s Reuse a Shoe Program turns old shoes into playing courts for kids to use again and again.
This green give featured a book called How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint: - 365 ways to save energy. I soon realized we were doing many of them. Find the Top 5 every day things my family has implemented including composting, recycling, reusing, energy conservation and more.
I wish I lived somewhere that I could hang my laundry to dry outside but Vancouver happens to be a very wet place most of the year and my area of town does not allow laundry lines in your yard. I researched what my best alternative may be to do our families laundry as eco-friendly as possible. First step cold water washing and second the Laundry Ball. When you do up to 8 or 10 loads of laundry a week like we do this gadget really makes a difference. Read on how you can do your laundry with a little less guilt.
I have a dirty secret. I like to garbage pick. I don’t mean dumpster diving for food but finding items for free that others have discarded and turning them into something usable. I shop almost exclusively at second hand stores for my children or on the Craigslist. I believe there is so much “stuff” already out there for kids that there is no need to by new all the time. But my true passion is finding an item that someone may have left outside their home with a sign “free” on it. I pick it up and restore it. I have done it again and again with furniture and toys. Just a little elbow grease and maybe a paint job and you have a brand new item. Take a look at the before and after pictures of a toy cabinet I still use to this day. You know the saying “someone else’s garbage is another’s treasure.”
This recipe is simple. It’s called grow your own food. You can do it in pots, in your garden, in your window sill – where every you can in your home. If you need the official recipe follow this give to see the impact growing your own food makes on the environment. If you can teach a child this environmentally friendly practice you will have made an impact on them for their life.
When you get on a roll to give every day you discover ways that can give not only once but twice in one act. Donating your bottles that can receive a deposit back is one simple and effective way to give. It gives to the planet by recycling and gives to charity by donating them. In one year alone we recycled over $150 worth of bottles, juice boxes, milk cartons and donated the money to charity. Take a look around your neighbourhood and see if their is a charity drop box you can give to.
If you have children in your life there are never enough activities to keep them busy on a rainy day. This idea came to us when I came across the site Be Straw Free. Did you know that over 500 million disposable straws are used every day? Enough to fill 46,400 large school buses a year. My son and I came up with a great way to use straws to create fun art projects. Take a look and see what other ideas you could come up with to reuse straws for creative good.
This is an easy and fun way to teach your children – even at the ripe old age of three – the connection between our planet and keeping it clean. We are in full blossom in Vancouver right now so it’s time to get out and walk with your child. Stop and smell the flowers. While you are there pick up some garbage in your community at the same time. Smelling cherry blossoms and picking up someone’s stray plastic bag will remind you it’s worth keeping our planet clean and healthy.
Our environmentally friendly practices don’t stop here. There are many daily “gives” including water conservation, eating organic foods, saving electricity and more that we do every day. (Day 7, Day 10, Day 25, Day 159, Day 204, Day 222 and more) 365give was a great project for our family to inspire us to give in so many ways and giving back to our planet was one of our favourites. No matter how busy your family is teaching our children the value of being environmentally friendly has to be a priority.
A special thanks to VancouverMom for inspiring me to write about giving back to our planet and reminding our family of how we do give every day.
If you have any ideas you practice in your family please share them with us so we to can bring them into our daily lives.
I beleive it is the the next generation that will make a huge positive impact on our planet. Children are being taught at home and in school from an early age how they can treat the planet with respect and kindness. I personally started teaching my son at the age of 2 and now at the age of 4 he can tell you 10 ways to help protect our earth and practices them in his daily life.
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to get the next generation involved with their Top 12 Ways to save the planet every day. The children of the world can teach us wonderful things if we take the time to listen.
Top 12 Way To Help the Planet by the elementary children of Eagle Habour Montessori School.
- Re-use materials as much as possible.
- Don’t waste food. Don’t buy so many groceries.
- Stop littering to protect the environment- oceans, plants, animals.
- Stop polluting.
- Conserve water-turn taps off/use less water/don’t have so many baths.
- Save electricity- turn off tvs/computers/lights
- Take care of plants and animals-limit trees chopped down and use both sides of the paper!
- Don’t need so many toys! Make our own toys.
- Don’t make so many plastic bag factories. If you drop plastic bags in the ocean, turtles might think they’re jellyfish and eat them.
- Use cars less. Walk instead of driving.
- Re-use ziplock bags.
- Don’t make so many factories.
Earth Day isn’t about saving the planet just one day out of the year. It’s doing our part every day and giving back to our world so it is a safe and healthy place for our children and the generations of children to come to live.