Learning to Give: A lifelong lesson
December 12, 2013
Giving to others has always been important to Fireflies Lead Teacher Joann Schock. When she first started teaching, she recalls speaking with then Executive Director Marni Sweet about ways to the have children involved in helping their community.
For years, Joann's Fireflies have had regular playdates with children from Easter Seals. It is a chance for children with and without disabilities to get to know and understand each other. The Fireflies also regularly visit the LIFE Center, a day program for seniors in West Philadelphia. The children come to share songs and smiles with program participants.
After each visit, Joann always asks the children how they feel. "I hope that they will begin to recognize that good feeling that is associated with doing something kind for others."
Joann learned the importance of helping others from her own mother. Speaking from experience, Joann knows that, "if you plant the seed when children are very young and it gets nurtured over time, it can last a lifetime."
"I have been here for almost 18 years. Families have come back and told me that they still do something to support the community with their children because of their time in the Fireflies. That is very special to me," she added.
Last month, the Fireflies held a food drive to benefit Philabundance, which was a great activity for the children. According to Joann, "It is a way for children to really be involved. They bring food items from their own home, like soup or macaroni and cheese, and offer them to other families that don't have as much as they do."
This month the Fireflies have begun asking for donations of gently-used coats of all sizes to help families in West Philadelphia through an organization called One Warm Coat. In just one week, donations have been pouring in. The PIC Community is learning to give, something we know will last a lifetime.