Avondale School District Students Pack Desert Angel Boxes

Classroom assignment becomes lesson in community service

On Wednesday, July 29, students attending the Avondale Youth Assistance (AYA) Summer Kids KAMP got a lesson in community service when they joined forces with the national non-profit organization Desert Angel and took a simple writing assignment to a new level. The assignment, to write a message to a member of the armed services, progressed to a more service-based lesson when camp director Colleen Sieh learned about the Desert Angels project “Miracle Boxes.”

Photo courtesy of Avondale Youth Assistance

Photo courtesy of Avondale Youth Assistance

Desert Angels was founded in 2011 by Michigan native Louise Blain and organizes efforts to provide care packages for men and women serving our country overseas. Community groups collect items including hygiene products; breakfast foods like pop tarts and granola bars; recreational items like cards, hand-held games, DVDs and CDs; and socks, pillowcases and batteries and package them to be shipped overseas. The care packages are called Miracle Boxes in honor of fallen soldier, PFC Joseph A. Miracle, a Michigan native who died while serving our country. Since 2011, Desert Angels has sent thousands of boxes to our troops, each one with a message to those who serve that they are remembered and appreciated.

Sieh, who likes the real-world application of the writing lesson also feels it’s important to expose youngsters to opportunities where they can serve their community. “Students get very engaged when you tie what they are learning in the classroom to a way that they can use it outside of school. Writing the personal notes was a curriculum-based assignment with purpose. Involving them in the packing of the boxes was an extension of that purpose and a demonstration of service and connection to the community. Our students packed alongside members of Auburn Hills American Legion Post #143 who provided all of the items for the boxes.”

The notes that each student wrote for inclusion in the packages contained information about the students’ likes and interests along with a special mention of thanks to our troops. “I was impressed with how thoughtful and sincere the notes were,” said Sieh. “I think it meant something to the kids when they wrote them and I think the notes will mean something to the troops when they read them.”

About Avondale Youth Assistance (AYA) – AYA is a non-profit community service organization committed to strengthening youth and families and reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency, child neglect and abuse through community involvement.  A board of community volunteers supports this mission by providing programs for Avondale School District students that include Youth Recognition, honoring student volunteerism and personal achievements; Mentors Plus, matching youngsters with caring adults; and after-school and summer KAMPs (Kids Academic Mentoring Program). Call (248) 852-3716 for more information.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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