Friday, December 16, 2011

Unconventional field trip teaches Woodlawn students about service

Class field trips to the zoo, history museums or theater plays are common, even expected in elementary school.

But students at Woodlawn School are straying away from the norm and turning field trips into service projects. Once a month, the Woodlawn third grade class packs up for an unconventional trip to 5th Street Ministries. The organization is a homeless shelter that serves more than 150 meals per day to the less fortunate.

"I had never been to a homeless shelter before, so I was a little nervous to go to the shelter," said Benjamin Vaughan, 8. "It’s also difficult to know that people in the world are going hungry."

As students serve up helpings of meat and veggies to those in need, they learn about volunteering, homelessness in the community, stereotypes and respect. Each student has a different role at the shelter every month. Some dish out candy and food, while others pour drinks or greet guests. Often, students will make table decorations, like paper turkeys, for the holidays, said their teacher, Jamie Pohlmeyer.

"I learned how important it is to help others in need by giving them lots of food so they will survive without a home," said Paige Berini, 8.

Paige is often in charge of pouring water, plating food and handing out candy to guests. She said the most difficult part of the volunteer work"is seeing all the really young kids being homeless and seeing the homeless with no food or water except when they go to 5th Street."

Recently, the third grade class collected $245.81 from a school-wide bake sale that they donated to the shelter.

"The hardest part was to see that so many people need food, water and shelter," said Micah Shepherd, 8. "Especially the kids."

Photo: Zach Kellman (left), Gabriel Cox, Paige Berini and Bryce Adams serve lunch at Fifth Street Ministries. Courtesy of Angela McKenzie, head of Woodlawn School.

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