The Compassion Project
Each month there is an assignment for Loveland Elementary School (LES) third-grade students in Melissa Prenger and Kelly McDonald's classes that is a bit outside the traditional textbook. The lesson is about compassion, and the reach – sometimes – goes clear around the world.
“In August and September we focused on Backpacks for Haiti,” explained Prenger. “We collected more than 80 new and gently used backpacks to send to students in Haiti. It started because one of our students began collecting them as an effort to do a good deed for his wolf badge. So, we decided to join in the efforts and contribute to his project to help our friends in Haiti.”
That act of kindness grew into what has become The Compassion Project. Each month the students select a nonprofit to help, and the teachers turn the outreach into real classroom learning – incorporating math and language arts lessons with the giving.
In October the students created "Socktober" collecting 250 plus pairs of new socks, and donating them to The Shelter House of Cincinnati. Read to Feed was the November lesson, with food donations and proceeds going to Loveland’s own LIFE Food Pantry. In December the students developed Caring Cards - spreading holiday cheer by writing more than 300 holiday cards and delivering them to local nursing homes and sending them overseas to the troops.
“I believe strongly that it is my job as a teacher and role model to my students to not only teach them the academics that they need to be successful, but also what it means to have good character,” said Prenger. “We have talked in depth about what it means to be compassionate and how good it can feel to help others. Being able to bring positivity to our local, national and even international communities has made us more caring individuals who look out for one another.”
This January and February, The Compassion Project hit especially close to home. Teachers are working with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise awareness of blood cancers. Students will collect coins and online donations for that agency. Wednesday, Jan. 13, Leah Jordan, a junior at Loveland High School and a blood cancer survivor talked to the classes about the importance of what they are doing to help.
“I hope that the students continue to practice compassion in every aspect of their lives for years and years to come,” said Prenger. “I hope that when they have the opportunity to show compassion that they do, and that they look for ways to help others on their own.”
Top photo caption: LHS Junior Leah Jordan spoke to LES third-grade students about the importance of the work they are doing with The Compassion Project to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Jordan is a blood cancer survivor.
Below: LHS third-grade students taking part in The Compassion Project.