Fourth and fifth graders at Council Oak Elementary spend forty-five minutes each week focused on service learning with dean and counselor Patty Eaton. They work on projects for the school and the community, such as tending to their outdoor classroom and garden.
“Service learning is an umbrella of many, many things. There’s a focus on social emotional learning, so there’s an element of that laced into anything I do with the kids,” said Eaton.
This year, Eaton wanted to focus on kindness, so February became Kindness Month. She encouraged the students to come up with compassionate projects that would serve the community.
“I’m a believer in letting kids come up with ideas. Let them autonomous in what they do. I’m there as a guide to help facilitate it,” said Eaton.
One group visited classrooms and had students write thank you letters to police officers. Others collected money for the food bank, put on puppet shows, challenged fellow students to a game of kindness bingo, and raised awareness about trash filling the oceans. One group of girls embraced the task with a level of dedication and care that made their project truly stand out.
4th graders Penelope, Autumn, Reece, and Berea decided to put their love of making jewelry to good use. They started creating bracelets to encourage kindness and raise money for the Humane Society of Tulsa. They worked day and night to put them together, adding to their inventory in any spare moment they could find.
The girls teamed up with the Council Oak Foundation to sell these kindlets, as they were soon named.
Every Monday and Friday for three months, the girls were in front of the school at 7 a.m. toting signs and wearing sandwich boards promoting the kindlets.
“We were so inspired by what the girls were doing,” said Foundation President Aaron Wing. “They were always smiling, they were always in a good mood, they were nice, they were friendly, they were kind.”
The group accepted donations of any amount for the handcrafted bracelets, and the community stepped up to support them – one bracelet even sold for $50!
The Foundation offered to match whatever money the girls were able to raise. So, during a Monday morning assembly, the four students were able to present a check to the Humane Society for $556.29 – money that will buy food, vaccines, and other important items for all the animals at the shelter.
“Thank you so much, girls, for thinking of us,” said Executive Director Ashley Villines, “This kind of donation really goes a long way to take care of those kiddos so we really, really appreciate it.”
The girls said the project inspired them to find more ways to serve the community.
“It was a fun opportunity for us,” said Penelope. “This makes me feel good, I want to do this more.”
To learning more about social emotional learning, click here.