Giving Back: TNCS Kids and Heifer International

As 2012 drew to a close, The New Century School students had the holidays on their minds. They played the dreidel game, trimmed trees, and put on a holiday show for parents. They ate latkes and applesauce and strung popcorn garlands.

today's snack is special---latkes and applesauce made by the kids right in their classroom

. . . Later, the fascinated kids got to sample homemade latkes garnished with applesauce—YUM!

holidays include Hanukkah latkes and other cultural customs at TNCS

A rapt TNCS audience listens to Mrs. Cooper-Danyali read about Hanukkah latkes . . .

student poses proudly with her holiday practical life work

I trimmed this little tree all by myself!

student works his way to the smallest doll, while strengthening hand muscles and learning persistence

Having multilayered holiday fun with a Matryoshka doll—S-RazhdestvOm!

these popcorn and cranberry garlands will decorate trees on TNCS grounds for natural ornamentation and snacks for visiting birds

A kindergartner strings popcorn to drape on a tree for birds visiting the school grounds. Cranberry garlands were also presented to the lucky birds!

playing with the dreidel is fun and educational

A spectator pops in to check on how the dreidel game is going. All clear!

But amidst all the festivities and the jolly atmosphere, they didn’t lose sight of core TNCS values. Environmental sustainability, social involvement from community through global levels, and human compassion informed their daily activities, giving a special resonance to their merry-making. With the help of their teachers, they collaborated on an important project to donate livestock to a family in need through Heifer International.

“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth,” states the Heifer International website. But, “it all started with a cow.” In the 1930s, an American named Dan West volunteering in wartorn parts of Western Europe put the “Give a man a fish, you have fed him for today; teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” proverb to work in a new way. He saw that by giving people cows, they would have a replenishable milk source. Their nutrient requirements would be satisfied in both the short and the long terms. Thus, Heifer International was born.

Eighty years later, the development nonprofit organization has expanded to all reaches of the globe and continues to nourish the world. TNCS kids were thrilled to be part of this altruistic work and experience the joy of giving firsthand! In Operation Donate your Dimes, primary teachers (Mr. Sellers, Mrs. Lawson, Mr. Warren, and Ms. Lazarony) asked their students to collect dimes and bring them to class over a 2-week period in December. As the mountain of coins grew, rising K’s and kindergartners were assigned to estimating, then counting, then rolling them, and, finally, graphing progress toward the goal. Said teachers:

As we start to see how much money we can raise, the children are going to vote on what animals they want to buy. They will be doing projects and games to help them understand what the money is going for. We hope that you will be willing to help us with this project. The more dimes we collect, the more animals we can buy!

estimating number of dimes by weighing the sack to determine how much money TNCS primary students will donate to Heifer International

A student weighs the sack of dimes to estimate how many it contains. Laughter ensues as some pretty wild guesses are thrown out!

TNCS kindergartners get the mathematically challenging task of counting thousands of dimes to donate to Heifer International

Counting the dimes takes all hands on deck!

TNCS kindergartners all worked together to roll the thousands of dimes to donate to Heifer International

Rolling dimes is hard work—sheesh!

TNCS kindergartners have rolled and counted $385 worth of dimes to donate to Heifer International

So far we have raised $385!!!!! Fist pump!!!!

TNCS kindergartners proudly package their dimes to donate to Heifer International

The dimes keep on “rolling” in!

TNCS kindergartners collected $520 and were able to donate a cow and a flock of chickens to a family in need through Heifer International

Ultimately, the kids collected $520—enough for a cow and a flock of chickens!

It was an exciting way to get the kids involved in community service while honing math skills, working as a group, and exploring the deeper meaning of the holiday season. They can feel glad for the family they have helped, and they will not likely forget this experience. It was an important lesson for our budding philanthropists.

Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, may it bring you joy, warmth, and peace.

—Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha
Kindly let us know your thoughts in the comments section—we love to hear from you!