Stimulate Your Child's Interest in Their Community

Stimulate Your Child's Interest in Their Community

As a teacher, I have discovered that there is no finer way to stimulate the senses of a child, build upon what they have learned or pose a new topic of study than the field of community service.

I often stop what we are doing in class in order to respond to current crises in the world or the environment. This allows my students to keep abreast of timely issues and feel empowered by their ability to make a difference, to learn about the past and the present and to develop a sense of responsibility for their community.

My students have chosen, among other things, to pick up litter from Santa Monica Beach, hold a bake sale for the orphaned animals of Katrina, help the local red cross society to put together care packages for service people overseas, make enrichment toys for primates rescued from laboratory experimentation, and send letters and donations to the orphans of Baja Mexico.

This year we are working on a project for the Save the Children Fund. This entails knitting caps for newborns in the third world. Two million newborn babies die each year in the first 24 hours of life in the developing world. The knitting helps us to work together as a group, to discuss how and why such a simple measure can save a newborn's life and to look at the history and politics of such inequalities in the world.

Once we have finished our caps, we will submit them together with a letter to President Bush asking him to dedicate more of this fall's budget towards health programs for mothers, babies and children in developing countries. The caps that have been donated will then be delivered to newborns and families in countries where Save the Children works.

Your child's community service opportunities need not be limited to what they might find in the classroom. Look to your own community for worthwhile causes, and encourage your children to try to see life from another, less fortunate person's viewpoint so that they might have the opportunity to come up with some of their own ideas to help.

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Written by: Tanya Frank See other articles by Tanya Frank
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