More than 45 students across all grade levels in the kindergarten through grade 5 building selflessly give of their time in a variety of ways. Students become lunch buddies with children who may have difficulty interacting with others on the playground. Teachers use volunteers to read to their classes. Principal Victoria Kiefer engages volunteers in helping younger students unpack their backpacks and hang up their coats at the start of the day. Some students are buddies with special needs children in the school enjoying lunch with them or playing games with them.
“In District 73, the theme this year is Making Connections. When students assist other children or collect products for a local food pantry they are making connections with the community,” Dr. Kieffer said.
There are key “take-aways” that students get from volunteering. A PBSkids.org article outlines these elements well.
- Selfless: Children think about what they can do to help others.
- Dependable: Students learn that others depend on them and that they need to follow through with commitments.
- Enthusiasm: Volunteers are enthusiastic because they are freely giving of their time.
- Respectful: Volunteers show respect for other people and their lifestyles.
- Cooperative: Volunteers learn to get along with others and work as part of a team.
- Understanding: Volunteering helps people see things through other people’s lenses and to better understand what others might be going through.
- Humble: Volunteers typically don’t brag about what they do, they simply feel good about themselves for making a difference in someone else’s life or organization.