Structuring service projects into the Core Values Academy curriculum is an important part of nurturing a culture of living for the sake of others and supporting parent and family involvement into Blessed Children education.
The first of these projects for the school year in CVA Seattle was “Operation Gratitude.” Children donated their Halloween candy to create a total of 17 care packages on November 6. Elementary children and their older brothers and sisters worked together to write beautiful letters to military troops serving at home and abroad. Besides the colorful personal letters of gratitude from the volunteers, several of which required hours to dry the glitter glue, children also picked out their favorite candies to include in each package.
In order to prepare for Sunday’s service activity, parents were encouraged to talk to their children about the significance of collecting and donating their candy on Halloween day. The tips below were presented to support parents in making sure their children’s act of service was memorable and happy, not sad because they were parting with candy:
- Discuss what our soldiers are doing overseas and help children understand that the candy they enjoy can also bring a smile to soldiers who miss the taste of good old American candy.
- Encourage kids before going out to have a great wonderful Halloween trick-or-treating and work hard to collect extra for our troops overseas that we will share the treats with.
- If reluctant or trying to only give unwanted candy, talk it through and ask kids, “Which candy do you think the soldiers would like most?” and help them pick a few to bring on Sunday and let them keep some nice ones too!
To start off the class, teachers divided into grade levels to ask students why they thought the service project was a meaningful thing to do. Although coming to the candy table with different depths of understanding, all the kids could agree that giving up their candy was a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifice of the people who were willing to give up time with their family to protect their nation. Children expressed their gratitude to the soldiers in heartwarming letters, prompted by teachers to think of the strangers as their own family.
Although mostly strangers, some of the recipients of the packages were friendly faces. Lieutenant Jacob Bates and his wife Ohnshil Bates sent a thank you back to the volunteers saying, “We received the candy and beautiful cards. We are so grateful and we shared all the candy with my platoon in the army. Thank you!”
CVA will continue to include a variety of service projects throughout the year to inspire children with the culture of true love: to live for the sake of others.