We have been fundraising for months and last week Little Hands Can was able to launch the After School Program with BEST. Thank you so much to the generous donors who have made this possible! Spirit Mountain Community Foundation gave us $3000 and numerous other companies and small businesses have donated to make this possible!
BEST after school is a free and reduced after school program at select Title 1 schools in the area. Little Hands Can now has a weekly elective at three of their sites. Students rotate through the program in six week sessions. We teach a lesson where students learn about social issues, their civic duty and are empowered as they complete a hands on service project. On the last day of their session, they take a field trip to the Eugene Mission to see what a local charity does for the community.
We hired two fabulous teachers for this. Eve is our lead teacher and Megan is our co-teacher. They both do a great job helping the children feel that their little hands can make a difference. Here's the general curriculum of what the program covers each week as we explained in a letter home to the families:
- WEEK 1-FRIENDSHIP: Let’s make friends!
- Games: Several games where we will get to know each other and talk about good friendship skills and discuss how we can be friends with lots of types of people including the elderly.
- Project: Make place-mats for the Meals on Wheels program.
- Reading: "The New Kid and the Cookie Thief" which tells a humorous story of two kids who show kindness despite misunderstanding as they become friends.
- WEEK 2-BEING KIND TO THE EARTH: The earth we live on and how we can take care of it.
- Games: Games and other activities that we'll do to help us brainstorm ways that we can help the environment.
- Project: Students will complete a special up-cycle project.
- Reading: "Recycle: A Handbook for Kids" which outlines ways kids can help the environment.
- WEEK 3-BEING HELPFUL: How we can help those around us and why it's important.
- Games: This day will involve working together and helping each other out.
- Project: Make cards for the residents at the Eugene Mission.
- Reading: "Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed" which is a pay-it-forward story as it tells of a young girl who does one act of kindness and that act inspires billions of acts of kindness.
- WEEK 4-GRATITUDE: What we have to be grateful for and that when we're grateful we can show it by passing it along to others.
- Games: A game that illustrates how gratitude is passed on
- Project: Write thank you cards for military personnel through the Operation Gratitude program.
- Reading: "The Thankful Book" is a humorous book that goes over a variety of topics to be grateful for.
- WEEK 5-LOVE: All of the things we've been discussing are part of a broader word called "love".
- Activities: We will explore why people need to feel love.
- Project: Make blankets for the Bags of Love program.
- Reading: "Miss Tizzy" tells a sweet story of an elderly woman who showed love to the kids in her neighborhood and they, in turn, showed love to her.
- WEEK 6-FIELD TRIP: - Students will have the opportunity to visit the Eugene Mission and have a guided tour as they learn what the Wellness Center does for community members. I want to assure you that the safety of your children is very important to us and we will be at the Eugene Mission when residents are not there. We will have several Little Hands Can and 4J staff with the students at all times. The students will be in safe areas where Eugene Mission staff will also supervise. Little Hands Can has had several meaningful projects at the Eugene Mission and we have always felt safe and secure inside their loving environment.
Currently, we have the funding to run this program for this full school year at two schools and for half the year at a third schools. We are hoping to be able to raise the funds necessary to continue this program all year at all three schools (we're approximately $1500 short). Want to help make that happen? Every dollar helps! Donate here.