GTUSD Students Help Those in Need
[Dina Gentry, EDCOE Communications Director]
Teaching children about Community Outreach is important to our school district. We believe that we are not only here to teach children reading, writing, and arithmetic, but to help them grow up into kind, compassionate adults, who have a great deal of empathy.
Part of the way we do this is by providing Breakfast Bags for the homeless. Sutter’s Mill Elementary School’s second-grade classes have teamed up with the El Dorado County Nomadic Shelter to deliver breakfast bags to the homeless community twice a month. These bags include bottled water (or juice), fruit, granola bars, muffins, hand warmers, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese sticks. They also include handwritten note cards of encouraging words, to let the community know they are remembered.
Conversations that are sparked by having the children put together the bags are the reason we believe this was a step in the right direction. Our students are learning there is an entire world of opportunity to be kind. No matter how “little” they may feel, they can have a BIG impact on others through kindness. In turn, the homeless community is realizing the community is paying attention, and there are people who care about them.
“When I tell the homeless community that these bags were put together by second graders, and the items were donated by their parents, their entire demeanor changes. They slowly start to see the world in a different light, and it helps to build their self-esteem back up. Some of these stories of why they are homeless are devastatingly sad, and yes, some of it is because of their own choices, but knowing that the community cares, and takes the time to volunteer to help allows them to see a positive. This builds them back up. The change in their behavior once they find this out is incredible to witness.” –David Sarmago, Community Outreach Director, Nomadic Shelter, Cold Springs Church
Students are asked to be involved in the entire process. They are asked to choose which items to bring in, what their notes will say, and they must work together with their table-mates to put the bags together. At Sutter’s Mill, we believe in a well-rounded education, and couldn’t be more thankful to a wonderful staff that are willing to think outside the box to achieve this goal. We are also equally as thankful for our students and their families who support our vision.
For more about Gold Trail Union School District, visit http://www.gtusd.org/