If you have been reading The Whole Bag of Chips for a long time, you know all about our kids’ Go Orange citywide food drive. If you haven’t, you can read about it on the Go Orange page on my blog. In a nutshell though, a few years back our kids were watching TV and saw a commercial for going orange and having food drives for No Kid Hungry. One of them said, “We should do that here!” and I said, “Go ahead!” And they did. It’s been their project all along, from contacting the schools to contacting the mayor’s office, to creating posters and flyers. Although we as adults are here to facilitate and offer advice if needed, this has been their “thing” from Day One, and it continues to be their thing.
This year though, it is their third year running the food drive, and it’s a little bit different. Each daughter is old enough to have their own email address now, so they really can each take an active role in being the ones to reach out and make the contact with all of these people. The first year, only our oldest had an email, so she did all the emailing even though they all worked together to formulate the emails. They all made posters, they all participated, but she communicated out. Now, we’re splitting the tasks so that they each get to contact someone, or several someones, in regards to their food drive.
In that, I’ve had a realization of just what a learning experience this is for them. And I don’t mean just about hunger and poverty and statistics. It’s all that too, and that in itself is so incredibly powerful, but I mean that this has been such a hands-on lesson for them in communication skills, and in spearheading something bigger than they are, which can be put to use long into their future lives and careers. As I have been overseeing the communications to the community with three different kids of differing ages and abilities, I’ve been struck by the educational lessons they’re learning “on the job,” and how they’re also applying their learned classroom skills with our Go Orange drive.
I’ve watched in awe as my oldest used her newly acquired Digital Media Class skills and talents to create this year’s flyer. I’ve helped my youngest formulate the “friendly letter” email to the Assistant Superintendent as she inquired as to whether or not this event and its corresponding flyer was approved for 2015. I’ve reminded my second daughter to check for responses from the 23 school administrators she contacted about this year’s event and to respond back if necessary. Although it’s not seamless–they’re still kids–they’re still learning as they go and they’re doing a great job. They make posters every year, and after the first year they knew all the important “who, what, when, where, why and how” information to put on them.
I’m proud of the girls for coming up with their plan for Go Orange three years ago, and I’m so glad that it’s still going strong. I’m glad that as it rolls around each year they are each still so enthusiastic about doing it at their school and at our church, and watching it spread and grow each year. It’s a great feeling to see the results of their efforts on the actual day, and to see that although we haven’t solved the problems of poverty and hungry children, we certainly have tried to be part of the solution.