Ms. Welsh is a 7th grade teacher from Indiana who believes service-learning creates good humans. “In the egocentric mind of an adolescent it is absolutely critical that we give them the ability to give of themselves,” said Welsh. “It is incredible to watch students who have so little give their hearts to a project or event.”
After incorporating the lesson I Am a Hero for Animals, just over 200 seventh grade students participated in the mini-grant supported service-learning project called Cat Walk. Students hosted a Cat Walk for a local animal shelter and hosted pay-for-games during school. The money raised from the activities got donated to a local no-kill animal shelter.
“Students always end an event with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that they truly made a difference in our community,” said Welsh. “In a day where students have a difficult time looking outside of themselves, we allow them to see how they can make a difference for others.” For Welsh, this process kick starts students' understanding of giving, volunteering, and the power of philanthropy to change lives.
Students learned the importance of planning, teamwork, perseverance, and other social emotional skills. “I thought it [the project] was a ton of fun and a great experience,” said Sydney W. “I really enjoyed seeing the final product which we worked so hard on.” Madison D., said “To be honest, I didn’t think that our philanthropic project would work. However, our class did a phenomenal job at really stepping up.” Chase C. said, “I learned not to be so nervous when talking to new people.”
For many of the students, this service project was their first experience taking ownership of a cause. They were given the power to facilitate an event and watch their classmates come together to make it all happen.