Project Clean Up
"Our programs teach the character development values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and Faith," said Ms. Amanda Schmitz, the Social Responsibility and Community Outreach Director of the Monroe Family YMCA in Michigan. "These values align with service-learning and philanthropy, to encourage our students to continue to give back for a lifetime. Furthermore, these focuses allow all students the opportunity to feel a sense of relationships, achievement and belonging."
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Schmitz applied for and was awarded a $500 Learning to Give mini-grant focused on after-school programs, which was made possible in partnership with the Michigan After-School Partnership (MASP) and NYLC. Once stay-at-home orders came into play, Ms. Schmitz and her program youth wanted to continue with their planned service-learning project, but in a slightly different way.
With the onset of the coronavirus and changes to programming and in-person support requirements, Ms. Schmitz and her team worked creatively with the youth in their program to teach the lesson Community Clean-Up. "This lesson provided a clear guide on how to appropriately educate kids from grades K-5," explained Ms. Schmitz. "The students and our teachers all found the lesson engaging and educational."
The original intent of this project was to conduct a clean up at River Raisin National Battlefield. With a temporary suspension of the field trip due to COVID, the location had to be changed. Because the Monroe Family YMCA responded so effectively to community needs and philanthropic efforts, the change provided an additional opportunity for teaching, learning, and growth. As a result, just under 50 K-12 grade students participated in a grounds clean-up at the Monroe Family YMCA.
“Recycling is important, don’t put the orange peel in this," explained one studnent. "Sort out to put trash in the right bins.”
“Keeping our Earth clean is my job," said another.
“I love my Earth," said a student. "Keep it clean please."
For this group of students, they learned about the importance of keeping a maintained eco-system & community (science & social studies). They also engaged in actions that showed the value of working as part of a team or group and how service is a responsibility to the community.
The $500 grant supported the materials (gloves, bags, shovels, etc.) and participant snacks required to see the project to fruition.