Elementary kids are learning

from books on ‘giving back’


TRI-CITY AREA — The Four County Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) recently gifted several local elementary schools with their own philanthropy libraries.

Four County Executive Director Kathy Dickens reported that YAC members recently distributed 30 books which focus on philanthropy to elementary schools in Almont, Capac, Dryden, Imlay City, Armada, Richmond, Oxford and Romeo.

Dickens said about three-dozen appropriate titles were selected for delivery to each of the schools, based on research available from the Learning to Give Foundation.

She noted that each of the books provides grade-appropriate lesson plans focused on the importance of “giving back.”

In conjunction with the philanthropic theme, Dickens said YAC members and some Four County Community Foundation (FCCF) staff and board members have been making themselves available to read the books to students in their elementary classrooms.

Four County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council (YAC) member Avis Schapman reads aloud to students in Kris Ruhala’s 3rd-grade class at Orchard Primary School in Almont.

“Our YAC members or other FCCF representatives will read the books and lead conversations about why it is meaningful to give,” Dickens said. “Our philosophy is that we need to teach the art of giving very early on. What better way to teach these valuable lessons to our youth than through literature.”

Jennifer Szlachta, Principal at Almont’s Orchard Primary School, supports the idea of introducing young people to the concept giving back.

Szlachta said the school recently welcomed YAC member Avis Schapman to read one of the donated books to students in Kris Ruhala’s 3rd-grade classroom.

“In addition to reading the book, Avis shared information about lesson plans and follow-up activities,” said Ruhala. “She did an amazing job as guest reader. The students were highly engaged and she led discussions based on the book.

“I feel Avis is a wonderful role model for the younger students, both as a volunteer and as a student leader.”

Szlachta noted that YAC member Ben Roland read to students in Nicole Clark’s 2nd-grade class and was greeted with equal enthusiasm by his young audience.

“You should have heard the kids,” said Clark. “They started filling his bucket right away with comments like: ‘I like how you read with expression’ or ‘great job, Ben.’

“These books focus on teaching youth about the many benefits of giving, and to ‘let’s make the world a better place.’”

The titles of the new and used books being provided to the local elementary schools include One Plastic Bag; What is Given from the Heart; Say Something; Day You Begin; One; Chair for My Mother; Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday; Anna & Natalie; Coming to America; Deliverance of Dancing Bears; Goose’s Story; Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound; Humphrey the Lost Whale; Immigrant Kids; Just a Dream; Let’s Get a Pup! Said Kate; Magnus at the Fire; Miss Rumphius; Molly the Pony; Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters; Noisy Nora; Sam and the Lucky Money; Swimmy; Julius, The Baby of the World; Two Bobbies; Uncle Jed’s Barbershop; The Other Side; Brand New Kid; Brave Norman; and Gardener.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.