Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Community Service: First Responders Thank You Program at Sachem Public Library

In honor of Patriot Day and the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, we decided to do a program to honor local first responders.  I had Anne Soper come in and help the kids make origami cranes and boxes and write notes to include inside the boxes with the cranes. At the beginning of the program we talked about first responders and the services they provide and I also told them the story of Sadako Sasaki, her message of peace and goodwill and the Japanese legend of 1,000 cranes.

We took a picture of the teens with a thank you banner my co-worker made ahead of time and their cranes for the purpose of creating a thank you card.  I purchased a package of photo frame cards at AC Moore and made the cards using the group photo and included a written message as well. I bought small boxes at Staples and red and blue tissue paper and packaged everything together. I sent them out to our local firehouses, police precincts and the sheriff's office and because the boxes were extremely light, the postage was only a few dollars per box.

In the thank you note, I included the basic story of Sadako Sasaki and the Japanese legend of 1,000 cranes. At the time when I decided to do the program, I had no idea that Sadako's brother donated one of the last cranes she made to the 9/11 Tribute Center in 2008 in the hope of spreading her message.  I thought it tied the whole project together nicely so I included that in the thank you card as well.

This was the first time I tried this program and I would probably do things a little differently if I did it again.  The program was 2 hours long and I had 23 kids in attendance. In hindsight, I probably would have broken it up into two sessions of maybe 15 teens for each session only because some of the kids needed more help than others with folding the cranes. Anne, myself and another staff member were in the program to provide help as needed (I learned quickly how to make a crane and a box!) and a few teens already knew how to fold the cranes and so they helped others.   I also would have had the kids help out more with packaging the boxes and decorating the thank you cards.  I would add another half hour of time to allow for help with that.  You could also have the kids decorate a thank-you banner or the letters to spell it out.  I wasn't sure how much time this would all take, so we made that ahead of time.

I haven't had any responses from any of the recipients yet, but if I do I will post about them!
If you have any other questions about the program, please let me know.

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