This year a recycling program, started eight years ago by the third grade, was revamped with the help of Parents’ Association Community Service Chair Kristen Muhl, Third Grade Teachers Albert Park and Darlene Urwin, and Assistant Third Grade Teachers Deborah Mayer-Goldberg and Maronke Sims. As always, each Friday at 11:30 a.m. four 3rd grade students, one parent, and one teacher meet to sort, clean and collect the weeks’ recycling. However, now all money earned from the recyclables collected and redeemed goes to sponsor, through a charitable organization, Silas Ntasin, a young boy from Ghana. His parents are farmers and with four children, they struggle to meet the family’s needs.
After receiving a letter from Silas, the class wrote letters in response as a “Heartwork” assignment. In his letter, Silas thanked them for sponsoring him, shared information about his village, and explained that most villagers are farmers and cultivate yams, cassava, maize, millet and groundnuts for consumption and for sale. (You can read the full letter by clicking in the upper right corner of this page.)
“By supporting Silas with proceeds from our recycling program, we are teaching the students two levels of social responsibility,” said Goldberg. “They learn about things they can do to help the planet and about the importance of helping others who are less fortunate.”
“The students really enjoyed receiving a letter from another country written by a child who is similar in age and has some similar interests,” said Park. “Silas likes to play soccer and enjoys math … this shows our students that despite the differences that exist they also have things in common with this student from Ghana.”
"When I asked the children what collecting the recycling means to them, the consensus of opinion was that while recycling is definitely fun for them to do, more importantly, they feel very good about helping the environment and raising money to support Silas Ntasin," commented Urwin.