Several weeks ago our students were engaged in an activity that involved learning about voting as a citizen’s responsibility. Another responsibility of a citizen is to perform meaningful actions for their community. We put two and two together and had students vote for a community service project. The students almost unanimously voted to raise donations for Concord, New Hampshire’s Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
After students made flyers, posters, and boxes the donations from our school community started pouring in. We collected several bags and cans of cat and dog food, many fleece blankets, as well as A LOT of other items on the SPCA’s wish list.
As I was discussing with my Principal on how I was going to get the donations to the SPCA, he pointed out that it would be a very affordable and easy field trip. How thankful I am for that suggestion! Our field trip last Tuesday was perhaps the most meaningful field trip I have ever been a part of, and it only took an afternoon.
Why was our field trip so meaningful and successful? Because this educational experience was not just about academics and ensuring that our children were applying what they learned. This field trip was personal. The students were emotionally invested in their citizenship project. The opportunity to have firsthand experience to witness the many animals needing assistance, as well as the many volunteers who work hard out of pure kindness and empathy for the animals was incredible.
The Whole Child approach to Education includes five main tenets that I believe our school and district follow on a consistent basis. These third and fourth tenets were included in our citizenship unit and our community project, and spell out why I think this field trip was so successful and meaningful:
- Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
- Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults. (like the volunteers from the SPCA)
I wanted to share some facts we learned about the SPCA in Concord that I found particularly meaningful and memorable:
- They take in approximately 1,500 homeless animals each year.
- Last month alone they helped 110 animals find new homes.
- Each day they need to do 10-12 loads of laundry.
- Volunteers at the SPCA make no money, and the organization needs volunteers at their facility 365 days a year.
- The SPCA relies heavily on donations to help provide the animals with the best care possible.
- The SPCA doesn’t just take in animals – they also help families struggling to take care of their pets with provisions.
The Pope Memorial SPCA of Concord-Merrimack County is definitely an organization that ROCKS. Please take the time to check out their terrific website: