Friday, November 30, 2012

(Pt. I) Planning a school-wide Character Ed Event at Your School

Our JYJ character ed night is a PTA sponsored annual school wide event.  This is an event that does not go without lots of planning and prepping.  I've gotten quite a bit of emails from counselors with questions about how to plan for a character ed night event at their school. So I'm going to try to break this down into several posts (so it's not so overwhelming).

As I said before this event is something that has been going on for years at JYJ.  It was started by the previous counselor many years ago as a way to show how students & parents can show good character by helping others in the community.  So last year was my 1st year (at JYJ) and working on the character ed night committee.  Last year's event was very successful and myself and the 2 parents that are on the committee decided to keep our same team and do some updates to this year's event.

-First on our update list was to change the name from Character Ed Night to JYJ Gives Back.  We actually are doing service to our community throughout the entire school year and saying "night" sounds like we just help out on one night (which isn't true).  We changed "character ed" because we just wanted a refresh in the name.

So here are some planning tips for our JYJ Gives Back event that we use at my school:

-I would highly suggest that you create a committee for your school wide service night event.  There are 3 of us (myself and 2 parents) and we work extremely well together.  I would not want to take on a project like this alone (yes it can be done, but I'm very comfortable working with a team).  We also have many, many parents to volunteer for the event so this is definitely a collaborative effort.

-Choose a date for your event.  We chose the Thursday after the King holiday in January.  What better person exhibits service and all the character traits to others than Dr. Martin Luther King?

-See if your PTA will sponsor and provide a budget for your event (any amount of money will make a difference).  Like I said this is an annual PTA sponsored event so we have a budget to work with.

-Decide what types of service projects can be (easily) done at school by children.  Some ones we've used in the past:
-SPCA (dog chew toys out of old t-shirts)
-Backpack Buddies (Pack bag lunches)
-Raleigh Rescue Misson (local shelter, packing on the go lunches)
-UNC Children's Hospital (making care packages, cards for patients)
-Mayview Nursing Home (making Valentine's Day cards for the residents)
-Ronald McDonald House (making care packages, cards for sick children)
-Tammy Lynn Center (for developmentally delayed children/adults, making musical instruments for the students)

-Our committee will contact people at each organization that we want to sponsor (we split our list 3 ways) and we find out what need there is based off what the organization contact tells us.  In the past we've had some JYJ parents that worked or knew someone at the organization which has also be helpful.

-Once you've gotten a list of organizations to work with.  Decide what items will be needed for the service project.  Things to think about...Will these items be donated or need to be purchased from your PTA budget?  How will you collect donated items, who will donate the items?  At JYJ we've done a little of both, we assign a list of donated items (that need to be purchased such as non-perishable foods) to each grade level and things that are free (example old t-shirts) we ask the entire school to donate.  We have bins all throughout the school for donated items.  A great way to get items donated is to publicize what's needed as much as possible.  We send home a donation list (several times), have announcements on our school news, have the principal mention it on the phone message and even tweet out what's needed so that the parents receive it as a text message.
Donated items that we're short on, we use some of our budget money to purchase.  Last year we had to buy very few supplies because of the "publicity overload".

Food items collected
Board games collected to donate to the children's hospital.

Stay turned for Part II of planning for a school-wide Character Ed Event.  As always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

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  1. Yay! So glad you are taking the time to share this with us!

  2. Hey Tabitha, no problem. This is a great event to incorporate into our counseling programs. More to come soon!