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Students Participating in Currier Elementary's DREAM Program Learn About Kindness, Friendship and Overcoming Challenges
As part of the 21st Century Learning grant, Breaking Free provides
after school programming (also known as the "DREAM" program)
elementary and middle school students in the West Chicago
school district. One of the examples of the benefits students take
this programming is illustrated in this email
communication and pictures from Susan Castrogiovanni,
Assistant Director of the "DREAM"
I wanted to share some pictures from the community project worked on by the Currier DREAM students. We entitled the project
"Choose Kind". Overall the goal of the project was to help students recognize and practice the many ways we can be kind to each other,
both on a smaller everyday scale and a wider more encompassing scale.
The project was worked on over several months and evolved with
student input. All grade levels participated in group conversation, brainstorming, journaling and reflection on the themes of kindness,
friendship, overcoming challenges, bullying and betrayal. Grades K-3 tied these concepts into various reading activities with stories
found on Reading A-Z, as well as library books such as "Have You Filled Your Bucket Today". Grades 4-5 participated in a lit circle
that focused on the book "Wonder" by RJ Palacio.
Through the process of completing these many activities, the project grew to include
welcoming new families to the local community. More specifically, the 5th grade students guided the idea to make blankets for refugee
families. The 5th grade group leaders presented lessons from the website "I Am Syria" (http://www.iamsyria.org/) and students gained
a better understanding of the factual situation of refugee families as well as the extensive process of coming to the United States.
3-5 worked on creating "no-sew" blankets and grades K-3 created welcome cards for new families. I coordinated with Robert Johnson
from World Relief who visited Currier to pick up the blankets and talk to the students. We were also able to add some personal care
items to donate, which were left over from the United Way Mothers Day shopping event. Robert Johnson shared pictures of the gifts
set up for the new families as well.
Thank you for your time - the kids did a great job!
DREAM After School