Monday, January 14, 2013

(Pt. II) Planning a School-Wide Character Ed Event at Your School

In my previous post on planning a school-wide service (character ed) night at your school.  I discussed pre-planning (this is the importance of having a committee).  In this post I'll focus on how to plan and execute the event at your school.

-Remind students, staff and parents about the event.  This year we had a banner put up in front of the school and a yard signs at carpool and the front entrance to remind them of the event.  I had these made from Vistaprint (I added the date by creating a Word document, printed and added to the sign, which can be updated yearly).

Banner made using VistaPrint
Yard sign at the front of the school

-Once you've determined what organizations you plan to help and which items to collect for the service projects; determine what and how you will collect your items.  This year we started off with collecting items school wide (before the holidays).  These items included (old t-shirts, cardboard tubes, canned fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks and gently used winter items such as coats, gloves, scarfs & hats).  After the holidays we assigned items for each grade level to bring in (that way items donated are pretty equally distributed).

Sample of the signs on the collection bins (I used PowerPoint to create this)
Donation bins at the front entrance of the school
-If you are collecting school wide, there's NO such thing as over publicity.  We send home a note with a list of the requested donated items to all students, have the principal include it in her weekly phone message and include it on the televised school news.  For the news show, I made visuals (using PowerPoint) of the needed items.  We have collection bins throughout the school (which we mention in our note, phone message and news message, remember there's NO such thing as over publicity).  Another option that the parents seemed to like was being able to make monetary donations instead of sending their child on the bus with canned items, snacks, heavy items, etc.  By giving a monetary donation, our committee can go to the store and purchase items that we're running low on.  As I've said before, we are very fortunate to have so many parents willing to go above and beyond with donations and volunteering for our event.

Collection bins
Winter items collected
Bin to collect cardboard tubes...we had more than enough!  This is a range applicance box donated by a parent.  I covered the box with butcher paper and posted donation signs on it.  We had 4 (large) collection boxes.
Bin to collect winter items.
Visual used for the JYJ News Program.

- Decide/plan  where each service project station will be held in your school.  For an example, we kept all the projects that dealt with food packing in the cafeteria, crafty type projects in the art room, etc.

All food stations were in the cafeteria (this was the finished backpack buddies program station).
-Recruit, recruit & recruit volunteers!  I created a Google Doc that was sent to the parent yahoo email group and we were able to fill all volunteer spots to manage service project stations.  We also contacted the neighboring high school for students who were looking for community service hours (all students are required to complete service hours).  Last year we had 10-15 high school volunteers who were able to move, set up/take down tables and station materials.

Volunteer sign up, using Google docs
-At each station, we made specific directions on what needed to be done and we made a sample of the finished station product (I recruited students to make the samples before the event) so that the station managers could show the students the finished product.  We had 2-3 parents (and in some cases a parents and a student) manage stations.

A few of the station directions
-Invite a representative from the organization you're helping to come to the event.  Most of the people will come and say a few words during our (quick) opening session and tell how our community involvement makes a difference and what their organization does to help the community.  The great thing about having a representative there is that they can also take back the items that were made/packed at the station and you won't have find someone to take them to the organization.

-We actually serve dinner during our event also (this is up to you).  We have pizza, snack carrots, cookies, water and lemonade.  Again, this is funded through our PTA and we accept donations for the cost of the food.  Parent volunteers handle this part of the event.

-To assign stations, when students come in to the event, they choose  2 tickets from a basket which tell them which stations to go to.  I made these "tickets" using Avery business cards and typed the station names and locations on the cards.  Having students pick, eliminates overcrowding at some stations.

-Our JYJ Gives back event is just a couple of weeks away and I'll be sure to share how our event went this year.  Stay tuned!

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