Big changes start with small differences

Dover Elementary third-grader Erick Tavitas and Elizabeth Anderson, the life enrichment team leader at the Lutheran Home in Westlake. Photo by Alejandra Tavitas

Third-graders at Dover Elementary recently were assigned a project which asked them to find ways to be a good citizen. The students were asked to identify a problem in the community, develop a solution and work for a month to implement their plan.

The results were amazing. It was fascinating to see how they worked to find a solution to the problems they identified. They didn’t point fingers or blame anyone for these problems but worked hard to implement a solution and make a change. They worked in so many ways: collecting food, clothes and blankets; a conscientization campaign about illness; recycling cans and glasses; helping people in the supermarket and a nursing home; selling things to raise money and donate for a good cause; and bringing cookies to the police station. Every single effort counted.

Once their project was complete, the students created a report with their reflections on what they did and learned. They reflected on their experience, how they felt about it and the best and worst parts.

As a citizen, a human being, a mother, it was overwhelming to read each report and see how the kids think about their world and their community. My favorite part was reading what each child learned during their project. They all felt the importance of making positive change and came to understand that even small and simple acts can lead to great changes. The children embraced the assignment and even though their homework is finished, many students continue the work they began with their projects.

As part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, Westlake Schools have a compromise with the world; they develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed, they also encourage students to be active in their communities and to take their learning beyond academic study. The lessons learned through this project are invaluable. These third-graders are the good citizens we need in the world.

Alejandra Tavitas

I'm a Westlake resident that moved from Mexico two years ago with my husband and my two kids (6 and 8)

Read More on Community Service
Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 9:38 AM, 03.01.2016