Preparing donations for The Children’s Haven are, from left to right, front row: Madison Rhodes, Adan Cifuentes; second row: Natalie McBride, Olivia Rhodes, Natalie Gallagher, Austin Rhodes, Logan Harman; back row: CASA Cherokee Advocacy Director Michelle Meek, Principal Doug Knott and Assistant Principal Dr. Pam Green.
Liberty Elementary School continues to build upon its national recognition as a School of Character with work that has earned an additional two Promising Practices Awards!
The international organization Character.org, which has repeatedly honored Liberty ES a leader in character education and service learning, presented the two awards in recognition of the school’s “Caring for Caritas” and “Birthday Bins and Meal Kits for Foster Families” projects.
“We are extremely proud of this year’s Promising Practices recipients. Their dedication to character development has proven over time to increase the well-being of so many individuals in their communities across the United States and beyond,” Character.org President and CEO Doug Karr said. “The great work happening in these environments is a solid foundation for individual and community growth.”
“Caring for Caritias” is a school-wide initiative to support an orphanage in Africa that began in October when students learned about it from another service learning project: writing to military personnel serving overseas.
When students learned from SFC Joseph Layman, stationed at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa, that orphans there needed basic necessities, they met with teachers and PTA volunteers to develop the new project to support them. A schoolwide donation drive collected hundreds of packages of medical supplies, non-perishable foods, clothing and shoes, as well as cards and donations for shipping.
“I just wanted you all to know that what you are doing is helping,” he wrote in his thank-you to Liberty’s students. “It shows that you care about your fellow man. I can’t tell you how many people I asked for help… and then Liberty shows up and knocks it out of the park. Pat yourself on the back on a job well done. Behave yourselves and do well in school. Remember, there are kids here that love going to school just to learn how to read.”
Fifth-grade teachers Stephanie Hopersberger and Susan Parris coordinated the “Birthday Bins and Meal Kits for Foster Families” project following a classroom discussion led by a new student, who shared that he is in the process of being adopted. His classmates were inspired to support children in foster care and contacted The Children’s Haven, a local nonprofit organization, to learn how they could help.
Together, with the support of parent volunteers led by Judy Gallagher, they organized a fifth-grade service project to collect donations for 45 meal kits and 45 birthday party bins. The local Publix supermarket donated most of the meal kit ingredients, with parents and students gathering the rest including handmade cards.