WAYS WE GIVE
Instilling a sense of continual giving to others is a core value in our community. We search for ways to make giving meaningful, purposeful, and routine for our learners. The more ways they can be part of and understand the impact of their giving the better. There are tiny ways each student is urged to give everyday by helping others in our community but we also focus on some broader, larger ways for our community to give.
Our community often participates in a Books on Wheels book drive. Recently, to make our donation have more direct meaning we provided books to a local Roxbury school. A former AO teacher spent a year teaching at the David A. Ellis elementary school in Roxbury for children K-5th grade. The school had a newly opened library to which the AO community donated hundreds of books from our community as well as a new rug and cushions for comfortable sitting and reading on the floor. After students sorted and loaded the books into our school van, a group of our teachers delivered the books.
Blankets for Hospitalized Children
Making felt blankets was a concrete way our learners could help children who were sick and in the hospital. All our learners can relate to the feeling of not feeling well and even some have recall of being in the hospital. Providing something soft, cozy and colorful made sense to our learners as a way to help children feel better. One of our teachers kicked off this project by providing each of our classes with fleece material and instructions on how to tie together two large pieces of fleece to create a blanket. Each student was able to help and to admire the end result before the AO teacher delivered the blankets to local area hospitals.
Thanking Allandale Farmers
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, each fall every student participates in baking bread for the Allandale Farm Team. In September and October, the learners have watched the farmers harvesting, plowing, and working the fields. In November, the school community bakes bread to show our gratitude for the food the farmers grow for all of us. The students make signs of thanks and as a school, we make the walk over to the Allandale Greenhouse and present our bread and cards to a smiling farm crew.
Introducing our early learners to the idea that other children and families may not have enough food to eat is a delicate one; however, we believe since it is a problem right in Massachusetts and Boston, it is important to introduce this reality while offering ways the children can help. Our learners can relate to the feeling of being hungry and how much they enjoy food when they feel hungry. We have given to different food banks, Meals on Wheels, and others, but given our Brookline location, The Brookline Food Pantry is one we especially like. We try to select donations of ethnic food, less frequently donated to the Brookline Food Pantry, but in high demand.
Animals are a major focus at AO. We love and care for animals daily. Our barn animals and all the creatures on the farm are often sources of inspiration for activism and learning about empathy. In that spirit, engaging the children in a project to help animals is a joy. Local animal shelters often need food and gear for their cats and dogs. Our learners excitedly drop off their specially selected items and then, with their teachers, help sort, count, and load up a parent’s car with our community’s collective effort of items for the shelter.
Community Clothing Swap
“One thing is certain - children outgrow their gear at a very fast rate! Since our school is an outdoor program that requires durable, rugged gear to engage outside in all types of weather, we offer a community gear swap. In the fall, AO families drop off gently outgrown outdoor clothes...coats, boots, mittens, rain pants, and snow gear. For the first two weeks of school, the community is invited to look through bins of clothes acquiring some clothing to help enjoy our rainy, snowy, and cold weather.”