In September, after hearing about the devastating northern California Valley and Butte fires as they were simultaneously occurring, Seven Hills 4th graders decided they needed to help the survivors. As one student seriously explained, “With such a colossal problem so close to home, our 4th grade classes couldn’t just sit back and watch.” Instead, they jumped into action and began brainstorming ways they could help. The result was a full-fledged service learning project. Supported by their teachers and school administration, students planned multiple bake sales to be held at school. They baked treats, advertised sales, made in-person announcements in Lower School classrooms and spoke at a Middle School Town Hall meeting to publicize their events. Working together 4th graders managed set-up, customer service, crowd control and clean up at four successful sales. In addition, they designed colorful donation boxes to strategically locate throughout campus. In the end these industrious and empathetic students rallied our community and raised a grand total of $2,122.96 to donate to the American Red Cross, specifically to support the victims of these two fires.
Following their Fires Service Learning Project, the impact was well summarized by one young student: “This … is an experience I will never forget. I gained a lot from this project and learned teamwork and how to be generous. The most important thing I learned was that if you work together you can make a difference in someone’s life no matter how big or how small.” This serious and relevant endeavor has inspired the 4th grade classes to look for other ways to give back to their community and has prompted them to think ahead to additional service learning projects they can plan and carry out this year.
Footnote: In addition to claiming the lives of at least 6 people, the Valley and Butte fires together destroyed over 146,000 acres and at least 3,000 homes and buildings.