A Chance to Give Back

The chance to give back is one of the basic things that Communities In Schools believes every child needs and deserves.  Serving others helps build self-esteem and empowers kids to see themselves as having something of value to offer to the world.  That's why students at the Performance Learning Center were given the opportunity to create their own service project through a Learn and Serve Grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The project, which was planned as parts of classroom assignments in math, science, writing and social studies, was designed to focus on healthy habits.  PLC students partnered with members of the Monroe Area High School Future Farmers of America to plant vegetables in the campus greenhouse and garden plot.

"The students really enjoyed being outside and working with the plants," said Kelly Howell, FFA advisor. "They had fun learning about gardening, which will be a great skill they can use their entire lives."

Once the plants were ready, students took them to the Boys & Girls Club in Monroe, where they worked with the younger students in a Healthy Choices Fair.

PLC students taught the kids how to read a nutrition label, how to count the calories burned by different exercises and how to brush their teeth properly.  Each child had their height and weight measured.  Other PLC students showed them how to make snacks with the vegetables grown in the garden and other healthy foods.

"I didn't know I liked yogurt," said Mikey, a third grader at the Boys & Girls Club.  Debbie Jackson, a local caterer with A Better Bite in Monroe, volunteered to help with the snacks.  "My goal was to let them try some things they might not have tasted before." she said.  "We offered them dried fruit, yogurt, hummus, tomatoes, whole wheat pita bread, fresh-cut pineapple, blueberry juice and more."

At the end of the event, each child from the Boys & Girls Club was given a tomato plant to grow at home, a toothbrush and Dr. Seuss's "The Things You Can Do That Are Good For You," purchased for them through FirstBook.

"I liked working with the little kids," said Jasmine, a PLC student.  "They looked up to us and we taught them something that was important for them to know."

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