Veteran’s Day can easily pass us by, marked only by a day off from school and weekend shopping sales. This year, the students of the Heath Extended Day Program honored Veteran’s day by participating in a community service project.
Working together, students from pre-kindergarten through 6th grade all played a part to provide local veterans with gift bags filled with donated candy and toiletries. The oldest group took on the responsibility of organizing the gift bags, which required counting over 2500 pieces of Halloween candy, shopping for $340 worth of toiletries, and visiting their younger peers to explain the project. The younger groups decorated the gift bags with red, white and blue drawings and messages of thanks. Veterans at the West Roxbury, VA Hospital received 240 gift bags as a result of their efforts and team work.
“Last year Veteran’s Day was just a day to celebrate the veterans, but this year I actually noticed how we can help them recover and truly celebrate the ones we love,” expressed one 4th grader.
In addition to making gift bags, the students also reflected on the veterans within their own community. Students with family members who currently or previously served were encouraged to bring in pictures to be displayed in the school hallway.
After working hard collecting candy, toiletries, and learning about the meaning of Veteran’s Day through sharing stories and books, the students and staff were privileged to hear local veteran Elmon Hendrickson describe his past and ongoing support of military service. He was able to spend some time sharing about his uniform, badges, and experiences, and took many questions from curious students.
Spending the weeks leading up to Veteran’s Day planning and carrying out a hands-on service project left many students feeling proud that they made a difference by honoring those who serve our country. Heath Extended Day is looking forward to making this community service project an annual tradition to mark the importance of Veteran’s Day.