Working together to transition freshmen & transform schools from the bottom up!
Sometimes as a parent you're not paying attention and suddenly your child reaches a milestone that completely snuck up on you. This happened to me just last week.
My 2nd child, Kelsey Grace, is a freshman at Salem High School, where I serve as an Assistant Principal. Last week she came home and asked my wife and I if we would be willing to donate money to her freshman service project - One Life to Make a Difference. The milestone snuck up and tapped me on the shoulder.
For the past several years, freshmen at Salem High School - as well as at partnering schools in Arkansas and West Virginia - have participated in a fundraising walk/service project that they call One Life to Make a Difference that raises money to help children in need around the world through World Vision. (One Life has been blogged about on this site numerous times. To read more about it, please visit http://freshmantransition.ning.com/profiles/blogs/freshman-service-....)
Every year it excites me to see our school's freshmen learn through this project the importance of serving others and of living a story bigger than yourself. So when Kelsey asked me last week if we could sponsor her for the walk it hit me - my daughter is a FRESHMAN at SALEM which means it's now her turn to learn about SERVICE from our wonderful Freshman Team teachers.
Then Kelsey did something that amazed me even more. We told Kelsey she had a babysitting job that Friday night. With a big smile spread across her beautiful face she proclaimed, "Yes - I can give the money I make to One Life to Make a Difference!" You gotta believe me when I tell you I was proud!
But it didn't stop there. She also received a babysitting job for that Saturday and once again decided to give her money to the cause of helping children in a far off place. My daughter - who doesn't get an allowance - wanted to give her hard-earned money to drill deep water wells and provide resources for kids she will most likely never meet in countries she will most likely never visit. Kelsey was thrilled to have an opportunity to put someone else's needs above hers.
It is not hyperbole for me to say that as her father I am eternally grateful to the teachers at Salem High School who intentionally set out to give my daughter and her peers the opportunity to learn the value of service. My hope for my child is that she will live for a cause bigger than herself. I can think of no more important lesson to teach our students. But just like teaching English 9 takes intentional effort, so does teaching life lessons like service.
Take a moment and reflect on your classroom and your school. Are you intentionally pointing kids toward values such as service to others? If so, please consider leaving an example as a reply to this post. If not, then ask yourself, "Why not?"
If you would be interested in partnering with the One Life to Make a Difference movement, please let me know. We'd love to have you on board. More importantly, though, I implore you on behalf of your students' parents, intentionally teach our children to serve.
Thank you, Ray, Cat, Justin, Jenn, Emily, Mark, Wes, Jeff, Jason, and Becky.