Los Angeles, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/22/2017 -- 'Tis the season to share the holiday spirit. And what better way than for students to create holiday cards and bring cheer to senior citizens residing in assisted living facilities. That's just what Celerity Educational Group students are doing this year as one of their weekly Character Development activities.
The great idea is to warm the hearts of the seniors, many of whom otherwise would be spending the holidays alone at the assisted living facilities. Instead, the seniors themselves are brought into the season's spirit of charity and rejoicing.
Celerity's seven schools are public charter schools using innovative teaching methods to encourage students to be scholars and model citizens. Their mission is "to provide schools where at risk students will thrive in an atmosphere of high expectations and engaging curriculum with challenging learning activities."
The joyful activity is part of Celerity's Expanded Learning Program, which has been recognized in Los Angeles County and the rest of California as an exemplary program fostering academic and social development. It's part of the 50-state Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project, whose website explains, "High quality afterschool and summer learning programs powered by school-community partnerships offer young people a variety of hands-on, engaging learning activities that build upon the school day.
"The Celerity card-giving also was inspired by the program called 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents, which was developed by the Search Institute," explains Autrilla Gillis, Director of Celerity's Expanded Learning Program. "The assets are building blocks for healthy development of our students emphasizing empathy, caring and civic involvement."
Under each heading, the 40 Developmental Assets' website lists specific actions the student can take. For example, under "caring" is encouragement to take actions such as the holiday cards program: "Investigate volunteer opportunities in your community that you and your teen can do together. Affirm your teenager when he or she acts in ways that are caring or responsible."
The actual lesson plan for "Making Cards for Seniors" is a model of encouraging civic involvement. The objective: "To brighten the day of someone who might be living alone or might be without company during the day. You will show someone who might be lonely that someone is thinking about them!"
Students at Himalia Charter School learned from one resident they were the first people to visit her in a year and it was the only present she received during the holidays. And at Rolas Charter School, there wasn't a dry eye in the room after students sang to the seniors during one assisted facility visit.
The materials are simplicity itself: card stock or construction paper; markers, crayons or colored pencils; and envelopes. Students are encouraged to let their creative energies flow into the cards. Teachers proof-read each card before it is delivered to the senior citizen. And students sign the cards only with their first names.
"Through experiences such as these, our students gain just as much as they give - they learn from the wisdom and experience of the seniors, and gain an awareness of the needs of those around them," explains Nadia Shaiq, Interim CEO and Chief Academic Officer of Celerity Educational Group. Part of our mission at Celerity is to foster leaders who always keep their community in mind, and this is one of the ways we do that."
"Making Cards for Seniors" is the perfect way for students to show someone who might be lonely that someone is thinking about them. It's a great way to learn – and do something good at the same time.
To learn more about Celerity's Expanded Learning Program, please visit: https://celeritycalifornia.org/.
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