Wednesday, April 3, 2013

7th Grade Volunteer Project in Community with The Giver

The Newbery award winning novelist guides the reader through an exploration of an idealistic, controlled community.  In the book every youth volunteers numerous hours at various organizations before being assigned a role within the Community.  As a follow-up novel project and extension activity, grade 7 English students were asked to volunteer within their community and write an essay about their experience.  --Cherylynn Ashley O'Melia

The Volunteer Assignment
In The Giver Jonas and the other Twelves are required to do volunteer hours prior to The Ceremony of Twelve. Jonas and his classmates volunteer at The House of the Old, The Recreation Center, The Nurturing Center, The Childcare Center, and other places to discover their aptitudes and interests.
Your assignment is to volunteer too. You may choose where,

when, and in what way you wish to volunteer in the community.
Here are some ideas:
Nursing Home Activities:

sing, do a skit with a friend, do a puppet show, visit with an elderly person from your

bake something for an elderly neighbor or relative in a home

make a card or cards and pass out to residents
Elderly in Community:

do yard work or clean for an elderly relative or neighbor

bake something for a lonely older neighbor or relative

make a card or cards and give to elderly
Volunteer at Church:

help with games

help with snacks

help with passing out papers and lessons
Volunteer at a Food Bank:

Stuff grocery bags

Organize shelves

Do whatever tasks are needed
You may also use your own volunteer ideas if desired. Type a five paragraph essay with a clear three point thesis about your experiences. You must have photo attached!
Organization and # of hrs. worked: __________________
Signature of parent or supervisor: ___________________

Volunteer Essay
Shubham G.
I went to The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma for my volunteer hours and had a great time. At the Food Bank I felt pleasure, thankfulness, and pride. My time at the Food Bank was a great experience and I suggest everyone should try volunteering.

          At the Food Bank I felt a lot of pleasure. I was pleased that I helped and made a difference in so many people’s lives. It made me feel that I was doing something good for the community. I was overwhelmed with pleasure when they told us that we had boxed 800 pounds of food. I am happy to be living in such a nice community and I think everyone who goes to volunteer feels the same pleasure I felt.

          I felt very thankful at the Food Bank. I felt thankful that I have something to eat every night, when they told us how many people go to sleep hungry and how we helped them. I also felt thankful that we have places like the Food Bank helping the hungry people of America. I was very thankful to the people of our country who are always willing to come and help when it is needed. Everyone should be thankful for what they have and if you volunteer you appreciate it.

          I think the most emotional feeling when you go to the food bank is the feeling of pride. When I walked into the Food Bank I suddenly felt a sense of pride that I took time out of my life to help others. You also feel proud of yourself for being one of those committed people who want to help others. When you leave you leave with pride and the feeling that you made a difference. If anyone wants to feel pride I suggest volunteering at the Food Bank.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is a great place to volunteer at and have fun. At the Food Bank I felt pleasure, thankfulness, and pride. Volunteering at the Food Bank is a great experience and if you want to feel what I felt, you should volunteer too.

Justin S
Volunteer Essay

            In the book, The Giver, children are expected to perform volunteer hours at various places around the community.  In my family we are also expected to volunteer in different ways in our community.  For my volunteer project I volunteered to acolyte at my church, St. Michael’s, and to read to my mother’s Kindergarten students in the Orange Area.  These things made me feel three emotions: joy, sadness, and hope.
            I felt joy in both cases for different reasons, but the emotion was similar in both cases.  When I acolyte, I always feel joy when I sing the hymns in the service as I usually rejoice in singing praises.  I also feel joy during the Eucharist when everyone lines up to have bread and wine after sharing the peace and saying “peace be with you” to one another and meaning it.  I felt joy during the Kindergarten reading when I remembered reading the exact same book when I was in Kindergarten and liking it very much.  My mother gave me four books to choose from and I chose the book I remembered reading at home.
            I also felt sadness while serving as an acolyte, especially at a point in the service when we read the Gospel reading about the man who had obeyed all of the Ten Commandments since day one, then went away distraught from a meeting with Jesus because Jesus told him he could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven without giving up all of his belongings (and he had very many of them).  This is often used as a lesson reminding us not to focus too much attention on worldly possessions, especially as Jesus says that a rich man has as much chance of getting into the Kingdom of Heaven as a camel has of going through the eye of a needle.  This always makes me sad, because I always remember that I have many possessions and I begin to question some of my choices.  I also felt sad during the Kindergarten reading, as I realized just how good we had it back in Kindergarten and how I had not appreciated it at the time.  Kindergartners get snack time, book bags, lots of outside play time and people read to them.  This sadness was also amplified as I realized just how big and old I must look to the Kindergartners, which is not exactly a good thing in my view.  I do not want to grow up just yet.
            Serving as an acolyte also made me feel hope.  I felt hope during the sermon, when the visiting priest said that the Gospel lesson is often used as a lesson to deter us from focusing on worldly possessions, because it falls in the part of the church year that is in the middle of a pledge campaign.  He said, however, that we don’t have to give up all of our possessions and take a vow of poverty to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  He said it is more important to follow the Ten Commandments than to give up all of our possessions, unless we want a “guarantee” to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – then we do need to give up everything!  I felt hope for the future while I was reading to the Orange Area Kindergartners.  I felt hopeful for the Kindergartners themselves, knowing that they would experience a similar process to the one I have experienced at Casady and I have seen myself mature and grow.
            As in The Giver, where Jonas remarked that the volunteer hours enabled him to grow and mature and helped to prepare him for the job he would have to do when he was older, I feel as if my volunteer experiences provide similar nourishment.  The hope I felt represented my desire for a good future, while the joy represented my enjoyment of the present, and the sadness represented a longing for the past.  Volunteering benefits the recipients as well as the volunteers and is a highly emotional experience that both shall almost surely remember.