Third Graders Making a Difference for the Bergen Family Center

Contributed by Roni Blaustein and Michelle Sussman

Quotes from third graders:

“Before we started doing this, I always felt like I was a bit too selfish.  I never realized how lucky we all are.”

“I really liked this project because we weren’t just asking our parents for the money to buy things, we had to earn it.”

For the month of January, we challenged third graders to use some “elbow grease” to help others in the form of a Third Graders Making a Difference Job-a-Thon.

Together in class, we discussed how fortunate we are to live in the homes and with the families that we do, and that many people are not quite so fortunate. Thus, we sought to help a range of people, from newborn babies to the elderly. These people live in the area and get their help right here in Englewood at the Bergen Family Center.

We also talked about how important it is to help out at home as well as in our community. To that end, we brainstormed a list of tasks or “jobs” that third graders can do around their homes. Many of these may be jobs or chores that the children are already expected to do, and for which they ordinarily would not be paid. However, some of them may be jobs that families would find as welcome additions to the daily routine. We thought of some possible fees for each of the services. These were only suggestions, and families were free to assign their own value to each job, to add or eliminate jobs, or to opt out of this activity completely.

Here’s how it worked:

  1. From Monday, January 12, until Monday, January 26, third graders “worked” around their homes.  This allowed them plenty of time to earn money. They kept track of these jobs on their Third Graders Making a Difference Job-a-Thon Log.
  2. At the end of the two weeks, third graders tallied up the total wages they earned, presented their tallies to their parents and received their wages.
  3. Using the money they earned, third graders had one additional week to go to the store to purchase suggested items of need for the Bergen Family Center. (Thanks again to the parents who took their third grader to the store to assist with the selection of the items.)
  4. Third graders brought the supplies they purchased to school during the week of February 2, 2015.
  5. Finally, the entire third grade took a mini-class trip to the Bergen Family Center to deliver the items they purchased with their earnings. Once there, our students took a tour of the center to see firsthand where their hard-earned purchases were going.

We were very excited about this project as it gave the students the unique opportunity to take ownership of the entire process – from working, to purchasing, to delivering. They did it all with their own two hands!

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