Leesburg, VA (Dec. 8, 2015) – Kindergartners at Evergreen Mill Elementary have learned you’re never too young to help your community. On Tuesday, November 24th, they donated 25 homemade blankets to Mobile Hope as part of their One to the World project. Mobile Hope serves more than 3,000 children and young adults in need up to the age of 24.
Teacher Jane Stockton said this donation had its genesis last summer during a project-based learning training she attended. The concept of community and community helpers are a big part of the kindergarten first-semester social science objectives. Kindergartners spent a few weeks learning about several community helpers and what they do to make Leesburg better. “We also discussed that your ‘community’ can be your home, school, town, state or even country,” Stockton said. “We discussed ways to help in the home and school environments. Then we discussed some of the needs of others in our community. I told the students about the food and shelter insecure kids in Leesburg and we brainstormed ways that ‘we’ could help at only 5 and 6 years old. They were so excited to learn that even being so little they could make the blankets and really make a difference to someone in need.”
All five of Evergreen Mill’s kindergarten classes worked together. Each blanket was made by four students. They spent several days “fringing” the edges to make each one special and unique. “Their hands got sore,” said Stockton. “The idea is to show them that they had to work.
“It really warmed our hearts to see how proud these kids were to be a part of something so special. Believe me, they did get tired and said that it was hard, but we reminded them that not all community helper’s jobs are easy…It is very difficult for a firefighter to go into a hot, smoky building, but they go in and do their job and we are all better for their hard work and effort.”
And the work and blanket presentation were well-timed…
Mobile hope asks for jackets and blankets for the month of December. The kindergartners had just wrapped up their “First Thanksgiving” unit and discussing the various needs that the Pilgrims and Native Americans had and how hard it must have been for them. Teachers and students spent a lot of time discussing how they – the community of Evergreen Mill – have so much to be thankful for.
The blankets were accepted by Mobile Hope founder and CEO Donna Fortier and K.C. LeBlanc. Fortier noted children as young as 4 are able to volunteer at Mobile Hope. (Sorting hangers is a favorite volunteer activity at that age.) “We help kids who are not as fortunate as you are,” said Fortier. “At any age you can be a community advocate.”
Sometimes the results of what Mobile Hope does can be tangible. Fortier said a young man who had been sleeping in his car a year ago had joined the military and came by Mobile Hope in his Marine uniform to show the staff how far he had come.
Fortier also promised to the kindergartners she’d bring the Mobile Hope bus to Evergreen Mill. This well-travelled vehicle has 790,000 miles on it.