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Volunteer for a Veteran

Students identify a specific way they can help a local veteran. They plan and participate in a volunteer project to thank the veteran for his or her service to the country.

PROCESS:

  1. After reading the article, ask the class why the students at this school chose to become pallbearers at the funerals of people they didn't know. Guide them to understand that the students were looking for a volunteer opportunity where they could help others. They identified a specific need in their community and created a program to fill that need. In the process, they were able to honor military veterans.
  2. Remind the class that Veterans Day is this week. Point out that many people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. However, Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Veterans Day, held on November 11 of each year, honors all military personnel but is largely intended as a day to thank living veterans for their service to the country.
  3. As a class, brainstorm ideas about how students can thank living veterans in their own community. Point out that this may include those who are currently serving or have served in the military or their families. Encourage students to think of something tangible that helps the person in a meaningful way. If you wish, contact a local veterans organization for ideas.
  4. Once students identify a specific activity, plan and hold a volunteer day for your class, grade or school. If possible, enlist the help of parents, older siblings and other community members.

ASSESSMENT: 

After students complete the volunteer project, hold a class discussion to recap what happened. Encourage students to share how they contributed during the day and what it meant to them to thank someone who gives so much for the well being of others.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
Organize the event yourself. Require each student to participate. After the event, encourage students to make a list identifying each thing they did to help a veteran that day. Then have students write cards thanking the veteran for his or her service to the country.

Grades 5-6:
Invite students to help you organize the event. Require each student to participate. After the event, encourage students to make a list identifying each thing they did to help a veteran that day. Then have students write cards thanking the veteran for his or her service to the country.

Grades 7-8:
Once you have an overall project in mind, divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a specific part of the project. Supervise the groups as they plan the step-by-step process for completing their tasks. You may wish to work with other classes or expand this into an all-school project. After students complete the project, encourage them to write an evaluation outlining what they did, how it helped a veteran and how the project could be expanded to assist more local veterans in the future. Then have students write cards thanking the veteran for his or her service to the country.

Grades 9-10:
Once you have an overall project in mind, encourage students to select a team of supervisors. Each supervisor will oversee a specific area of the project. All other students will work in small groups to complete specific tasks. Encourage teams to outline the step-by-step process for completing their tasks so the overall project flows as seamlessly as possible. You may wish to work with other classes or expand this into an all-school project. Encourage students to enlist the help of parents, siblings and other community members who want to help. After students complete the project, instruct them to write an evaluation outlining what they did, how it helped a veteran and how the project could be expanded to assist more local veterans in the future. Then have students write cards thanking the veteran for his or her service to the country.