We’ve been learning for the last week about reasons for government, including doing things for the “common good.” That is, helping your community to make it a better place. There are an infinite number of ways you can do this, but every now and then, special opportunities arise. Additionally, when those opportunities make for profound learning experiences, we have a great civics project!
Ride Janie Ride is a charitable organization that we are raising funds for, and on that has some special Lakeview connections. RJR is a charity that selects recipients, raises funds, and gives the funds directly to the recipients. Unlike other large, national-based charities, the proceeds go directly to the people who need them. And additionally, we have faces to match the names:
Additionally, our District has some special connections to this year’s recipients. Kayla O’Leary is a 3rd Grader at Prarieview, and many of our 7th graders know her personally. Anthony Nino is the brother-in-law of Mrs. Nino, our 7th grade teacher at Lakeview. What makes this fund raising effort so much more personal is that we KNOW them. Aside from saving and changing the lives of these people, KNOW who they are. Being a part of our community means that helping them is serving the common good, a critical component of being a responsible citizen. We can – and should – be invested in helping them, given that RJR has selected them as worthy recipients of their fundraising efforts.
How does this connect to class? Easy! This is now a civics project. Students are challenged to put into practice the ideals of “common good” that we’ve already learned in class. Over the next week, we’ll have a half day, beautiful weather, and constant reminders to help those in our community that need us. What can our students do for them, for the common good? Additionally, how can our student learn how to be good citizens, while inspiring their community?
Peter P. inspired me this morning. Peter printed a flier from the RJR website, went to church, and collected $120 all by himself! Additionally, Peter has given $80 of his own money to the cause, something few students have done. Peter reminded me of the power that students have, and my responsibility to awaken that power so that they can better learn to work for the common good. As their civics teacher, it is my job to help instill values in the students that make good citizens; this is an example. Peter did this for his admiration of Mrs. Nino, an amazing teacher (also doing work for the common good – see how that works?!), but also for his sense of doing the right thing for his community.
Also to be admired are Jacky J., Rebecca A., Rebekah O., Jeannie L., and Serenity S. These girls went door-to-door in their neighborhood and raised a total of $250 between them! They’re not just special young ladies that value their community, but they are WILLING to do something for it!
The challenge for students this week is to sacrifice the time, X-Box, Facebook, etc., and do something great for their community, for the common good. Students should post in the comments below their stories of what they did for the common good. They may include this Ride Janie Ride effort as an example, or their own previous efforts for other causes. What is YOUR example of what you have done for the common good?
Students will be exempt from homework tonight, 4/19, should they show proof of their sufficient work towards the common good.