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Lucy Wortham James students learn about, raise money for Special Olympics

For their service learning project this year, 4th grade students at Lucy Wortham James Elementary in St. James participated in a Walk-A-Thon to raise money for Special Olympics Missouri.

Students had spent the first quarter learning about what it means to be a “great-hearted person” (both literally and figuratively). The lesson then culminated with supporting a great-hearted cause.

Students enjoyed a visit from SOMO staff and enjoyed learning more about this great organization. At the walk-a-thon, many laps were walked (and ran!) and $1,000 was raised to be donated to SOMO. Students celebrated with an assembly where the top fundraisers were honored and given prizes courtesy of Maries County Bank in St. James.

Below is a Q&A with the class’s teacher, Katie Moreland.

What kind of things did you teach them about “being a great-hearted person?” Students learned that a literal great heart is healthy and strong enough to do its job — no clogged arteries or veins, no faulty valves. They learned you can take care of your heart with healthy eating and exercise habits. Students also learned that being a figuratively great-hearted people are people we would describe as being generous, caring, heroic, inspiring and hard-working.

Why did you/the students pick SOMO?
In our read-aloud of “The Man Who Loved Clowns,” the character Punky has a disability and has the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics. Numerous other characters in the book volunteer to help Special Olympics athletes. As we read the book and learned more about the organization, we decided Special Olympics Missouri was the perfect cause for us to fundraise for.

112What did you hope the students learned by having SOMO staff come in and talk to them?
Having SOMO staff come and talk to our students was a great opportunity for students to learn more about what SOMO is and the opportunities it provides as well as let them learn what donations such as we were hoping to make are used for. It got the students asking questions, thinking about the organization and ways they can be involved, and excited to fundraise for the cause.

What did you learn about SOMO and why did you want to raise money for this organization?
Students gave answers such as: “I learned about how neat it is for people with special needs to be able to do sports and compete and I wanted to raise money to help more kids get to experience that.”
– “I learned that the (SOMO) athletes can even go on to compete in World Games. I want to raise money to help. I’d love to volunteer sometime!”
-“I learned that it is a really cool organization that helps a lot of people. I think it would be neat to help them out.”
-“This organization does good things for a lot of people and they need donations to be able to continue doing that. I want to help.”