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Value-based decisions lead to community action

Grade 6 and 7 students at North Delta’s Gray Elementary have been spending their time spreading kindness, and making a positive impact in their community.
Noah Gray elementary
The Delta Optimist has partnered with students from Gray Elementary in a community COVID-19 story project. This is the first in a series of articles with the first written by student Noah Cook

Grade 6 and 7 students at North Delta’s Gray Elementary have been spending their time spreading kindness, and making a positive impact in their community.

When faced with the decision, “What action can I take that would positively impact someone or something in my community?” students dug deep into who they are and what’s important to them to come up with a plan.

“They were encouraged to use their skills and knowledge to share with others,” said teacher Mary Messer. “They researched agencies such as the food bank and the animal shelter to see what ways they could get involved, and then came up with three possible options. Carefully measuring each option with the criteria of our project (it should be - closely related to values, have a minimal cost, be COVID-19-friendly, able to measure impact in some way, and an achievable plan) helped them narrow down to the best choice.”

The result, said Messer, was deeply motivated kids communicating with agencies, teachers, and parents to acquire the support they needed to make it happen.

“We asked, wherever possible, for the agencies we worked with to send any photos they could that would show the kids how their work had been received - the only piece of evidence, in most cases, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “In some cases they had to imagine the impact they were having, and that, too, gave them satisfaction.”

Messer said giving kids’ opportunities to make decisions that matter to them, and teaching them the skills of decision-making is a fairly new thing in classrooms right now.

“Finding real and relevant places for them to make these decisions has become an important piece of my work as their teacher,” she said. “The fact that they have the opportunity to do something that is important to them for others gives them the chance to experience, for themselves, how it feels to give time and effort to someone else. To know and recognize their impact will hopefully make them want to do it again and again - building community-minded citizens who are prepared to step up for others.”

During the next few months, the Optimist will be sharing the student stories with the community. Below is the first one written by student Noah Cook.

Sky tour impacts seniors

Oh no! Seniors can’t see the night sky!

This January I wanted to make an impact on some seniors. I had a strong passion for astronomy and I felt that seniors could not see the sky because at the care homes they can’t go outside because of COVID-19 and they go to bed really early, so I decided to mix my passion for astronomy with wanting to make an impact on seniors.

Then the fun began.

I decided to make my project impact seniors at Delta View care home, so I started communicating with Kelly Foston, the recreational therapist. I was bouncing off cell towers and chasing after websites as I was creating the video, then I sent it off. After the video was sent, the response I got was a surprise. Ms. Foston asked if she could share this with more seniors by responding and saying, “Please let me know if I can share this with other care home sites within the Good Samaritan umbrella. I know others will enjoy seeing what you have done too.”

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