Birthdays are generally seen as a joyous time, celebrating another trip around the Sun. But for one Latham Ridge teacher and her 2nd grade class, birthdays have turned into something much more: a way to give back and help others. And while some may try and hide their age, this class celebrates the increasing years with an ever-widening array of good deeds. That’s why Ms. Sano’s 2nd grade class are January’s Kids Care Award winners.
For the past four years, Michele Sano has been performing acts of kindness to coincide with her birthday. Ms. Sano says she was inspired by a journal prompt of a 20 year old woman doing the same. The first year she did the acts of kindness, students helped out with four or five of them. Now students are involved in many, many more.
One student, Joshua Pasqualino, brought in his allowance to help purchase coloring books, crayons, and other items for sick kids at the Albany Medical Center Children’s Hospital. “I thought it would be really nice, and I wanted to help sick kids,” said Joshua. Joshua and his classmates actually collected more items than the Children’s Hospital needed, and extras went to local homeless shelters.
Students all had their own favorite act of kindness, including Vrinda Yadav, who said that making cards for those who needed a pick-me-up was her favorite part. “It’s important to help people because you might want to be helped later on,” she said.
“If students leave my class with knowing nothing but how to be kind to one another, I would be okay with that,” Ms. Sano said.
Other acts of kindness the class performed included reading and playing bingo with elderly residents at a nursing home (which is Ms. Sano’s favorite), making birdfeeders, helping make breakfast for the Latham Fire Department, writing thank you letters to veterans and hosting a veteran’s breakfast, and donating dog and cat food to the Humane Society.
“I think this project makes the students feel “part of the team,”” said Ms. Sano. “I always talk about teamwork and how we are all in this together, but this project really shows how each person can be a rock star at a different thing, all for the common good.”
The acts of kindness don’t just end around Ms. Sano’s birthday though. Throughout the year, a “Kudos Wall” is up in the classroom where students can leave kudos for each other and students are greeted with high fives each and every day.
Ms. Sano and her class were nominated by Christy Carpenter.