What began as a book recommendation for a Jackson Elementary fourth grade class turned into an exercise in helping and giving back to the community.
“Our school librarian recommended a book to one of our students,” said Thomasa Mosley, a fourth grade teacher at Jackson. “I read the book to the students for read-aloud. After I read them the book, the kids wanted to do something to help children.”
The book in question was Jan West Schrock’s “Give a Goat,” a true story about a fifth grade class inspired to take on a fundraising project for a charitable organization.
“Since we live in a democracy, the kids actually voted on what they wanted to do,” said Mosley. “Donating books to BACH was the winner.”
Mosley’s 22 students banded together with a goal to collect 100 books for Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s Young Eagle Clinic and turn them over on the 100th day of school. When Maj. Adam Brown, chief of the Young Eagle Clinic, arrived at Jackson Elementary Friday to retrieve the generous gift, he was pleased to discover that they had surpassed this goal, collecting a total of 120 books.
“This is not something we do very often,” said Brown. “We don’t typically receive gifts from classes, so this is a very nice gift to our kids that we see in the clinic.”
In addition to being a hands-on lesson in philanthropy, the collection and donation endeavor was designed to meet curriculum standards.
“I told the kids that we couldn’t just do this for fun,” said Mosley. “Somehow we had to incorporate our fourth grade standards.”
The project satisfied requirements for reading, math, social studies and writing.
“We had to count all of the books, so that was our math,” explained Haylee Carroll, a student in Mosley’s class. “For writing, we wrote thank-you notes using cursive. For social studies, we voted on the project because it was a community democracy.”
Beyond satisfying educational requirements, Carroll and her classmates took pride and pleasure in giving to a worthy cause.
“The sick kids don’t have any entertainment, and they have nothing to do,” said Carroll. “We wanted them to be entertained with books, and we wanted them to be educated.”
Giving books was a sound choice in the midst of an environment where there is a great emphasis on the importance of reading.
“It’s important for teachers to model by reading aloud to children, because we want the children to become fluent readers,” said Mosley.
Debbie Hadley, Jackson Elementary librarian and fountainhead for the giving project, agreed with Mosley’s assessment on the importance of books.
“Once they become good readers, it affects all of their subjects in school,” said Hadley. “Hopefully they’ll be lifelong readers.”
With a daughter studying to become a speech pathologist and a son in medical school, it is a topic Hadley knows well.
“I think the love of reading helps children,” said Hadley. “I can’t express enough how important it is.”
“This shows a commitment to education, and a commitment to learning to read,” said Brown. “It’s also about showing kids what we can do in a community when we contribute, what it means to be charitable. I think those are very important values for kids to learn.”
Mikell Marco, another of Mosley’s students, said he had a great deal of fun helping with the project.
“It was fun because I felt like I was doing something to help other people,” said Marco. “Helping people makes me feel like a better person.”