The word give is a verb that means “to freely transfer the possession of something to someone.” This definition is a simple one for such a complex and powerful concept. There are many things we can give and receive this holiday season. We can give things that can be seen and touched, and things that we cannot see or touch but can only feel inside. We must remember that we have the power to make a positive impact on someone else—not just during the holidays, but year-round.
Here are some tangible things you can give to your school community. Although these are things that can be seen and touched, I think you will agree that they will also touch hearts and change lives.
Give Students and Families What They Need
There are many ways that you can connect with your surrounding community to provide clothing and other necessities for students and families. I wrote a post last year called 3 Ways to Spread Warmth and Good Cheer to Your School and Community, which outlines some examples such as partnering with a consignment shop, partnering with a faith or community organization, and even hosting a coat drive for families in need.
Another way you can help students and families is by hosting your own holiday assistance program. Hosting a holiday assistance program allows you to serve the families that you know need it most in your own school. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to start a holiday assistance program. Check out the two blog posts below for great examples of and instructions for putting together a holiday assistance program for your school.
- Andrea Burston, JY Joyner Counselor: “Planning a Holiday Assistance Program at Your School”
- Carol Miller, The Middle School Counselor: “Putting Together a Holiday Help Program”
Give Teachers What They Need
According to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, teachers spend an average of $485 dollars a year out of their own pockets on school supplies and equipment. During the holiday season, teachers get lots of gifts from individuals in the school community, many of which are amazing and thoughtful. These gifts, however, do not always help them or their classrooms. What if teachers could make classroom holiday wish lists? I guarantee the majority of them would not be asking for Starbucks gift cards, but rather books and other materials for their classrooms.
Teachers and other educators in the school can post holiday-themed wish lists outside of their classrooms or office doors. Have them suggest a variety of items with different prices so that people can choose how much they are able to give. Students and families (and even other school staff) can select items that they want to give from the lists. Check out these two blog posts for great examples of a classroom wish list and a school counselor wish list.
- Andrea Burston, JY Joyner Counselor: “Back to School Counselor Wish List”
- Michelle Griffo, Apples and ABCs: “Parent Wish List for Back to School Night”
Yet another way to give educators what they need is through Donors Choose, a non-profit online charity that connects public school educators to donors. Educators create projects and donors choose which ones they want to fund and how much money they want to give. Corporations also contribute funding to certain project types. Encourage educators in your school to sign up and share their sites with the school community. For more information, visit the Donors Choose website.
How do you give students and teachers what they need during the holidays?
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