Kindness counts: School weaves community service projects into classroom time
Each school day at Havasu Preparatory Academy is highly focused on academic subjects. But an extra lesson is intentionally tossed in for good measure: kindness.
School Leader Dana Mills said that HPA instructors incorporate learning kindness and compassion along with their lessons for math and reading.
“Community service is important at our school and each child participates. Classes pick a project every school year and see it through,” she said, noting that some classes take on more than one project in a school year.
The philosophy behind practicing kindness in large and small ways teaches students that they have the power to lift others and make life better in their community, one act of kindness at a time.
Mills said that Meals on Wheels clients got a little something extra tucked in with their Thanksgiving meals last week. Each recipient received a greeting card made by Rhonda Gates’ third grade students. The 130 cards exclaimed greetings such as “Hope your day is full of happy,” “Hope your day is sunshine and flowers” and “You are special.”
Other community projects include the first graders’ pet food and bedding drive twice a year for the Western Arizona Humane Society and “Jump Rope for Heart” each February. Some classes team up for projects.
“Fifth and sixth graders had a food drive for Thanksgiving and the kindergarteners and fourth graders team up to make care packages for the (military) troops,” Mills said.
Donations from community residents can beef up the students’ projects. For example, kindergarteners and sixth graders joined forces to collect the pull tabs used to open soda, soup or other aluminum cans. The tabs are then donated to Ronald McDonald Houses.
The third graders at HPA are also working on an ongoing project that helps the students understand their role in protecting the environment. They collect dried out felt markers and send them to the Crayola ColorCycle project for recycling. Crayola pays all shipping charges.
To donate pull tabs or dried out markers to HPA, call the school at 854-4011 or drop off donations at 3155 Maricopa Ave.