Monday, April 30, 2012

12 in 12: April Update

During 2012, Sophia, Olivia, and I are doing a special challenge that we've named 12 in 12. We are doing 12 different activities that help people in need, animals, or the environment. 

This is what we did during April: 

- Take 1 bag of food to the food shelf.

The girls brought food to the collection art at church. Each month the food is brought to one of two food shelves the serve the area where church members live.

Olivia and Sophia with food for the food shelf.

- Volunteer 1 hour at a community organization that is chosen each month.

The girls practiced three weeks (45 minutes per week) for a short play as well as spent time at home memorizing lines and a song for the April 15th church service. It was done during the service and used as a message about grace. Each had speaking parts in the play.

Sophia and Olivia in the children's play at church.

Olivia also spent time coloring pictures of chicks for the "Buck-a-Chick" fundraiser that the children's choir did to help buy baby chicks that will help people in need. (More information is below under the Donate $12 section.)

- Donate 1 bag of clothing to a second-hand shop.

Rather than a second-hand shop this month, we donated a bag of clothes to US Again. There was a collection box outside Northwoods Humane Society which made it convenient to donate clothes.

Sophia with a bag of clothes to donate to US Again.

- Donate 1 bag of toys and other non-clothing items to a second-hand shop.

We donated two bags of craft supplies, toys, and household goods to Goodwill in Forest Lake. This is a new location and one that is closer to home.

Goodwill makes it easy to donate items. You simply drive up, the door opens, and you pull into a covered area where they help unload your car. Since it was raining, it was a welcome change from getting soaked while unloading donations.

- Donate 12 books that we no longer read to organizations needing books.

This month we are donating 129 books to the Library of Hope book drive that we are doing. Sophia came up with the name for the book drive. Our goal is to collect 1,000 books and raise $800 to store, pack, and ship the book to Lesotho, Africa.

The actual shipment of the books from the U.S. to Africa is being coordinated through the African Library Project. They also are the ones who work with African partners in establishing libraries in different countries throughout Africa.

Olivia and Sophia with 129 books in the bin.
We realized that there will be about 10 bins of this size
by the time they are done collecting books
to create the library.
(Olivia was in a good mood this day
as evidenced by her laughter.)

- Donate $12 to an organization that helps individuals, animals, or the environment.

We donated $4 to the church's "Buck-a-Chick" fundraiser that the children's choir was sponsoring this month.  All the money collected will go towards the buying of baby chicks through the ELCA World Hunger Campaign for people living in poverty.

The table that the children's choir used for raising money
for the ELCA World Hunger Campaign.

The chickens can be used for eggs for the family, and as a way of providing income through the selling of the eggs. The children's choir collected over $250 for chicks.

The other $8 the girls wanted to donate to Northwoods Humane Society to help the animals who are there until they are placed in their new homes.

Lady is looking for a home after her owner went to
an assisted living facility. She was so gentle and eager for attention
when I spent time with her. What a great dog!

- Write 1 letter to someone who has made a difference in our lives.

I wrote a letter to one of my college professors (Eileen Gavin) who I have maintained contact with since I graduated in 1988 from The College of St. Catherine. One of my majors was psychology, and that's the department in which she taught.

At the time, she taught one of the classes I wanted to take. There were quite a few tests that required memorizing names and dates. After a dismal performance on a couple of tests, she asked to meet with me. She was surprised at the difference between my knowledge/participation in class and test-taking results. There was too much of a discrepancy.

I told her I had trouble remembering all the names and dates. So, she asked what I enjoyed doing. "Research, papers...anything that I can explore at a deeper level," I told her. Her proposal: instead of taking tests, my assignment - the way she would grade me - would be by research papers that I would do about a topic she assigned.

She was the first - and only - professor of mine to make a major modification to the way I was tested. It was truly an eye-opener about different learning styles, testing abilities, and helping people show what they were capable of doing.

This flexibility and willingness to adapt one's teaching style for a student is ever-present as I teach my daughters. One of the benefits of homeschooling is being able to adapt my teaching methods to each daughter since they have very different learning styles and abilities.

My ultimate goal is foster a love for learning in both Sophia and Olivia; and the desire to share their knowledge and skills with others in a positive way. Eileen showed me how to do this almost 25 years ago.

She also approved an internship for a J-term that was in a field that was slightly different than my major (social work instead of psychology). She was insightful in recognizing that many of the subjects that I had already studied in psychology would overlap with what I was going to be doing.

Even more important, she knew the personal, lifelong  impact that the internship would have on me. Why? It was a one-month internship with my dad who was a school social worker at an inner-city high school. It was a gift then to be able to spend a month learning alongside him...and it is even more treasured now that he is no longer here (it has been three months since his death in January).

- Donate 1 bag of pop cans to places that collect them to raise funds.

It was a rainy day when we dopped off the cans at Northwoods Humane Society. The girls are very committed to wanting to help animals there find new homes and families.

Olivia and Sophia ready to drop the cans
into the can collector.

We were surprised that quite a few of the same cats who were there last month are still there this month. We hope they find homes quickly.

Milo is still waiting for a home.
He is such an affectionate and playful cat.

- Donate 1 bag of Purina Kitten Chow (dry) to Northwoods Humane Society (where Gretel was adopted).

With kitten season soon upon Northwoods Humane Society, they are in need of Kitten Chow.

The girls with the Kitten Chow and a check for $8 to help
Northwoods Humane Society.

The girls were eager to check on the cats who were there - there were many new ones there as well as ones who were still waiting for new homes.

Sophia and Olivia visiting the cats.

They also went to visit the dogs as well. Not as many dogs were there on this visit. In fact, none of the dogs who we saw last month were there - all had been placed with new families!

Olivia spending time with a 13-week old puppy.

We received a thank you note from the "Northwoods staff and furry friends" that said, "Thank you for your recent donations. Through your support we can continue to provide food and shelter to the abused, abandoned, and forgotten animals in our community. Thank you again!"

- Spend 1 hour outdoors doing projects that help wildlife.

The girls filled the bird feeders this month.

The girls filling the birdfeeder by the family room window.
The cats especially like this feeder since
they can sit on the window ledge and
watch the many birds that eat here.

They also helped re-arrange the feeders so that they were more visible to the birds. Some were hidden under branches now filled with leaves, so we found other branches that were more accessible for the birds.

We also took down empty suet bags since they were serving no purpose.

The girls also brushed the horses on April 27th since they are shedding their winter coats. The birds like the horses' hair for nest-making. In fact, in one nest by the hobby shed there's a long piece of hair from Bailey's tail that we can see.

- Make and randomly drop off 1 toy for a child to find as part of The Toy Society.

I made a hand-embroidered bunny from wool felt and cotton floss. The toy is stuffed with wool from sheep I raised, and has a pom pom for its tail.

We put the toy along with a note saying it was free; and more information about The Toy Society and how people randomly place toys around the world for people to find in one of the children's carts at River Market Co-op.

The toy bunny waiting to be found in a child's cart.

We did this on a Saturday when there seemed to be quite a few children at the co-op. So hopefully it was found quickly and brought to someone's home where it is being enjoyed by a child there.

- Share 1 time the gift of music (piano and/or harp) or singing with others. 

Olivia and Sophia singing with
the adult choir at church on April 1st.

The girls sang at church twice on April 1st (Palm Sunday) with the adult choir and once on April 8th (Easter).
The girls singing with the choir on Easter.

They also sang twice (along with doing the children's play ) on April 15th.

Singing on April 15th after the children's play.

The girls also played the piano and Sophia played the harp for their grandma's 82nd birthday on April 24th.

Sophia playing the harp for her grandmother
on her birthday.

She was able to leave the Transitional Care Unit at St. Therese for a day at her home.  Needless to say, it was very happy and meaningful birthday for her.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Wow! Kudos to you all! What a great job this month!! I hope the cats find homes, too. I'm glad the girls love helping the humane society!! :):)