Back-To-School is a hectic and exciting time, but for those families who are struggling financially, it can be a huge burden to pull together the many school supplies required. Backpacks, folders, notebooks, pencils, pencil cases, erasers, crayons, etc. add up quickly. In order to help make it easier for some local families who are struggling, we organized a special event in collaboration with Happy Heart Corner, an adorable Children’s yoga studio in Northfield, New Jersey, just outside of Atlantic City.
At our event called “Creativity, Connection, and Community Service”, children worked alongside their parents to assemble back to school gifts for children in need of a little extra help this school year. Our morning consisted of 30 minutes of family yoga and 45 minutes of the creative, collaborative community service project.
We started our Saturday morning with some simple yoga moves to relax and calm our minds. The children got really into the yoga practice, even requesting to do their favorite poses. It set the tone to help us focus on the present moment and what we were going to do during our important project.
Mindfulness helps us clear away the chatter in our brains so we can truly enjoy what we are doing in the moment. Incorporating some mindfulness into any community service activity is key to enhancing the experience for everyone. It helps us to appreciate what we are doing and the meaning behind it. We also got to know each other a bit during the yoga moves. Some poses involved holding hands, which aided in building a sense of community within our group before we began our project to help others.
Then we switched gears from yoga to our creative project. Participating in creative activities can bring so much joy and relaxation into our children’s lives. Whether it be drawing, painting, music, writing, photography, dance, cooking, or crafting, we have a tremendous opportunity to engage our children in their creative side. What is even more spectacular, is that we can harness this creativity to make the world a better place.
First, we sat in a circle and wrote cards to welcome the children back to school and to wish them well. The children drew colorful, uplifting images like rainbows, happy faces, flowers, and yellow school buses. They also added fun school-themed stickers to the cards. Finally, they wrote out positive messages such as “Good Luck”, “Have a Great School Year”, and “Have Fun!”
After the cards were finished, we used fabric markers to color in these wonderful pencil cases. It was amazing to see how unique each pencil case turned out.
Next, we set up stations for the children to walk around the room and put various school supplies into each case. We added pencils, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, a school ruler bookmark, stickers with positive messages, and the cards that the children made. They had so much fun filling up these goodies for other children. We decided to let each child who participated in the event take home a filled pencil case for themselves, which gave them a reward that they were quite proud of after all their hard work.
The entire event took about an hour and a half, and you could see how much the children and parents enjoyed it. Working hard as a team to create something special for those who need some help really is a meaningful experience. The kids all had such a fun time and are excited to do another project again in the future.
One young boy told his mom, “It was great and I loved it so much. I hope I can go there forever and ever. My favorite part was when we did the coloring to give to people that didn’t have any things for school.”
A mom who participated said how pleasantly surprised she was by how focused and interested her boys were in the project. They told her how much they enjoyed it.
Finally, a grandmother at the event observed, “The children were completely involved during the 30 minute yoga class. Also, all of the children were cooperative, helpful, and creative during the pencil case craft activity. They seemed excited and happy to be part of such an important community service project.”
This type of event can easily be duplicated as a birthday party, school event, or play date. All of the pencil case supplies were found at Oriental Trading. They have so many amazing tools for holding incredible community service events and parties. Check out our previous posts about Earth Day, Valentine’s Day, and the winter holiday season.
To learn more about Happy Heart Corner, please visit their Facebook page. In addition to yoga, they offer children’s and family dance, cooking, and art classes.
What types of back to school community service projects have you participated in?