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Learning from Giving
Tracey Earhart, 5/20/2010

[Reprinted from Issue 104, Fall 2008, of PA Homeschoolers magazine]

HannahEarhartDelivery.jpg

The above photo shows Hannah Earhart delivering food

From the beginning of our homeschooling, serving our community was a natural overflow from our many projects we had done with our church. It just made good sense to us, to have our kiddos involved in community service projects as young as possible. There were lots of opportunities. Local churches take turns supplying the volunteers in our community through a ministerial alliance. Helping at the local food bank was one of the areas. Our oldest son and his younger brother filled boxes and handed out food and unloaded supplies- he was in 4th grade, the younger was in kindergarten. We did that several times a year. That was 14 years ago. As time went by, we even took the very youngest along usually in a back pack.. Once when our daughter was just about 2, she sat up on the table with an older lady from our church and helped to put the soup into the boxes of the recipients. Having a young bright face- pacifier and all – handing them their soup and saying ‘tank you’ , brought smiles and laughter to everyone. The volunteers encouraged our children, and happily assisted them, while those in charge of the food bank delighted in seeing " youth’ in their midst- knowing the next generation was learning to serve the needs of the community at such an early age. Our three children helped to serve a thanksgiving dinner at the local Salvation Army. At 4 years old- our youngest was more than capable of delivering a turkey dinner with a huge smile. It made a beautiful difference for the recipients. Many times the recipients have come by to tell me, or the staff, how glad they were to see the kids helping. It warmed their hearts....

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Doing spring evaluations lets me see all the wonderful community service work homeschoolers are doing!
Susan Richman, 5/10/2010

Susan Richman works in the spring as a homeschool evaluator, meeting with families to look over their homeschooling portfolios, and talking with both parents and children-- and has been doing a lot of traveling about the state meeting with wonderful homeschooling families... here's an 'update' on some of the special things kids have been doing in community service-- often as written up by the student or parent.

 

Yes, I'm in the midst of homeschool evaluation season-- and although it's always challenging to keep up with writing up my narrative reports after seeing students, it's always uplifting to hear about all the wonderful things so many of these families are doing, especially related to community service. I'm going to let you in on some special things I've seen kids doing to serve others-- maybe you'll be inspired... and maybe you'll post below in a comment to share about how your kids are learning to reach out to others in unique ways!

 

One of my new favorite evaluation students is a 5th grader who is spending a couple of hours most weeks reading aloud for the blind in her area....

 

 

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One Pennsylvania Homeschooling Family's Special Connection to Haiti
Carline Crevecoeur, 3/10/2010

Editor's Note from Susan Richman:  I first met Carline Crevecoeur, MD, when she brought her children to participate in our annual PA Homeschoolers National Geographic Bee-- scheduled this year on January 10th, just two days before the disastrous earthquake in Haiti. We were all intrigued that Carline's family was originally from Haiti-- and I know that we all felt an especially sorrowful connection when we heard so soon about the devastation of the island. I'm so very grateful to Carline for sharing her extended family's story of their Haitian connections-- and to hear of the family's work in creating effective re-building projects, especially near their family's old hometown near to Port-au-Prince. Carline Crevecoeur MD is the treasurer of the C-CHANGE for Haiti Organization.  She is also an obstetrician/gynecologist who volunteers at the Centre Volunteers In Medicine (CVIM).  She lives in State College, PA, with her husband, where they homeschool their five children.  Dr. Carline Crevecoeur will be travelling to Haiti in April.  Visit www.c-changeforhaiti.org to make donations or to find out about C-CHANGE’s most recent efforts in the struggle to rebuild Haiti. And, just for the record, all of Carline's children were exceptionally bright and capable in the Geo Bee-- and her young 4th grade son Joey won our local Bee. We just found out last week that he has also qualified for the PA State Bee to be held at the Penn State Campus in State College on April 9th-- a remarkable accomplishment for such a young student. All of the children are clearly carrying on the family's strong legacy of learning and achievement-- and giving back to their larger community.

 

The 1960s were the years of the great “Brain Drain” from Haiti.  The brutal dictatorship of Francois Duvalier, with its ‘tonton macoutes’, came to power on September 22nd, 1955, and indiscriminately terrorized the Haitian people by committing unspeakable atrocities.  A few years later, anyone who could flee from Haiti did. 

Like most Haitian intellectuals at that time, my father, a mathematician and a lawyer, was looking for a better and safer life for his family.... 

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Homeschoolers and Community Service-- the Hands and Feet Ministry, in central PA
Erika Norton, 2/5/2010

Erika Norton homeschooled her four children through high school graduation with PHAA (Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency)-- that's 20 years of homeschooling! She wrote this article originally for our print publication, in fall of 2008 (issue #104), which focused on all the many ways that homeschoolers were finding to give back to their wider communities. Many of the ideas tie in well with Dr. Gary Welton's research on socialization of homeschoolers and their development as good and caring people. I hope this wonderful idea spreads to other homeschoolers! In the comments section, do share what *your* homeschooling family has done to encourage meaningful community service. 

 

Serving as the Hands and Feet of Christ

The Hands and Feet Ministry is a group of mostly teens and some adults who make weekly visits to a high-rise income- based government -subsidized apartment building in Hershey, PA, called The Hershey Plaza.

This building is home to mostly widows, some couples, and the disabled. There are 200 apartments and everyone is attempting to live independently. This is where we come in. We visit for about an hour and offer to do anything that they are unable to do; clean the bathroom, wash the floors, vacuum, flip the bed mattress, wash windows, take out the trash, sweep the balcony, etc. This all sounds so simple, but it has had an amazing effect on both the elderly and the teens.

How did all this get started? Seven years ago as part of a home schooling co-op one of the teens, an eleventh grader, specifically asked for a ministry class. We were offering all sorts of fun and academic classes, but she remembered having ministry as a young child and asked again that we would provide a class for the older students....

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