Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Adopt a Soldier and Veterans Day Freebie

If you're looking for a cool, meaningful volunteer or service project to do with your students, consider "adopting a soldier" who is currently serving overseas.  My classes and I for the last several years have adopted at least 10 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.  "Adopting" a soldier consists of making the commitment to send one letter a week and one care package a month to someone on active duty. (Which is easy when you have 20 some eager students ready to write their letter!)  My students and I have made some great friends, encouraged someone is serving our country, and participated in some of the most amazing events through this adoption.
How do you "adopt" a soldier?  You sign up with the non-profit organization called Soldiers Angels.
After they give you clearance, they will assign you a soldier and give you his/her address overseas and you're ready to go!  Who says the academics have to take a back seat?  I teach my parts of a friendly letter, map skills, addressing an envelope, focusing on common/proper nouns, some history, and of course, citizenship, Veterans, and volunteering.  I'd love to say that all my soldiers have been actively involved in the process of writing back to us faithfully, but that's not the case.  I've had everything from no letters in return because they're just too busy, to other soldiers who write us back faithfully.  I've even had one show up for a visit on Veterans Day the following year he returned from active duty.  Last year my students got to be involved in a soccer ball drive with our soldier.  He wanted us to collect soccer balls to send to him overseas where he distributed to the local village children in Basrah, Iraq.  The whole "adoption" process has been a WIN/WIN for everyone involved.  Enjoy some photos from some of our FAVORITE moments.
The soccer ball drive was on the news and
in a military publication. My students were
so proud that they helped get 200 soccer balls
delivered to such eager children in Iraq.

Some very excited 3rd graders collecting 
soccer balls for a good cause

This adopted soldier's team proudly
displayed their fitness award

We were lucky enough to have one of our 
adopted soldiers come VISIT us on Veterans Day!  
He presented our class with a certificate of appreciation,
coins from his platoon, and a flag flown over their 
camp in our honor while he was stationed in Iraq.

As always, if you would like some additional information or are interested in getting started, just let me know!  I'll help in any way I can!

For Veterans Day, be sure to grab the Veterans Day Timeline FREEBIE for you and your students!

Bananas for those that serve and sacrifice for our freedom,


Mr. Brewer said...

Thanks for sharing this. I think this is a great idea. I will have to remember this for next year's class.


Michelle said...

You are welcome! It has really been a great project and one that my students look forward to every year!

Lisa R. said...

Hi Michelle! I just found your blog through Katie. It looks adorable & I am a new follower!! :)

Learning Is Something to Treasure

Michelle said...

Hi Lisa,
Thanks so much for checking out my blog! I just added myself to your followers too! :-)

Rachel Seymour said...

What an amazing idea this is!! I LOVE it! I am definitely going to keep this in mind for next year. A little incentive to help with writing is always appreciated! :)


Michelle said...

Rachel, Let me know if you get the project started! Thanks for swinging by my blog today. :-) Michelle

Karen said...

I love this! We always send boxes to troops as part of our Veteran's Day celebration, but I love the idea of keeping up with one soldier for the year.

Michelle said...

Hi Karen, Yes, it is a wonderful experience for everyone involved! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by!

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