|As a high school teacher, I sometimes observe a student whose appearance has changed. It might be that his family could be in need of assistance, whether it be food, housing, or unpaid utility bills. There are signs that we look for, such as the child may be wearing the same clothes almost every day, poor attendance all of a sudden, or may have a change in attention or energy which could be caused by nothing or little to eat at home.|
If you suspect this might be the case for a child in your child’s school or this is the case for you, contact the school nurse or social worker. They may be able to find the help needed. They may know of agencies that receive donations of new or used clothing, usually in great condition whose purpose is to distribute them to families in need. They may also know of an organization that has emergency funds for food and other necessities, such as paying utility bills, until other help is found.
How One Class Can Help a Family in Need
|I co-teach a career education class. Our students have learning disabilities. One of our yearly projects is to raise money to purchase Christmas gifts for a local family in need. We contact the school nurse in the elementary school. She contacts the families who in turn give them their children’s wish lists. Other community groups and our class each adopt one of the families. Our class divides into two or three groups, decides on a tentative list from each of the wish lists with a budget in mind, and makes a trip to Target. We usually spend a couple of hours with calculators in hand debating over which toys and how much they will end up spending – within their budgets or combining with another group’s money.|
The students are responsible for counting the money and paying the cashier, waiting for the change and counting it back to check. Everyone is very patient. I think it helps the customers get a reality check and realize there is more to the season than getting that bargain. We are never given the name of the family, but we have received thank you notes from the parents. They are always very grateful. The whole experience gives our students a sense of pride to know they earned the money that in turn will bring some happiness to others who are less fortunate.
The Digital Photography Project
This year, in just the past two months, our eight students raised $250 through their desktop publishing business. How did they do it, you ask…
- The students took digital photos in the local A&P’s floral department where some of our students job sample. They took turns taking pictures of the pumpkins, mums, etc. They also took digital photos of local scenic spots.
- In the classroom, the students uploaded the photos to the computers and worked together deciding which way would be best to crop the digital photos.
- Using a template for Avery note cards (2 on one sheet, 60 in a box), we inserted the finished photos onto page 1, leaving a .5″ border on all four sides. (about $20 a box)
- The students added a border around the photo, choosing a complementary color.
- When that was all set, they just had to copy and paste the photo on page 1 to page 3.
- On the lower back of pages 2 and 4, they added Made especially for you by ………., 2009
- The cards were printed using a color laser printer.
- A flyer was designed and distributed to staff and parents.
- As the orders were received, they were entered into an Excel sheet, filled, packaged, and delivered by the students.
- As the money came in, it was counted and entered into the Excel sheet.
- Once the students had the first set of cards saved, they just needed to use it as a template and insert the other photos, change the border color, and save each one with a different file name in a folder named Note Cards_09.
- The note card sets (with envelopes) are packaged in clear sleeves, folded over and sealed with a small label with the class’ business name. A decorative ribbon is tied around the package and delivered with a Thank You receipt with the amount of payment due.
If you have a class that has access to digital cameras, computers, and a printer, they can help raise money to help a family in need, too. This is a great project. It allows the students to be creative and successful building self esteem. We do this a couple of times a year, once with a Fall theme and then again with a Spring theme. Now that the holidays are coming, we offer to print personalized return labels. Our customers have a choice of 8 different holiday/seasonal graphics. We are always willing to customize them. No customer is ever turned away.
If your children, grandchildren, or students are involved in community service projects to raise money to help families in need at Christmas time, please share them with us at NanaFinds.com. You may give other groups ideas on how they, too, can help!
PLEASE READ: 2009 – I have received requests from young mothers for helping provide Christmas gifts for their children. As much as I would love to bring smiles to children on Christmas, I am not financially able to do so. All I can do is post information on where families in need may go for assistance - read through all the posts under the category help for families in need.