The Impact of Meadowbroook

kathrynEven though it has been almost 10 years since I attended Meadowbrook, the impact this school had on me has not faded in the least. Over the past few years, I have come to realize just how important Meadowbrook has been to me. Two years ago, I applied to a job at a non-profit in Philadelphia that awards scholarships to elementary-aged kids for them to attend independent or parochial schools. In this process, I was asked about why I am interested in working in education. “Meadowbrook” was my immediate response.

The unique environment of Meadowbrook is where I learned the meaning of community, leadership, honesty, responsibility, self-confidence, and respect. The 2nd grade post-office taught me to take ownership and that communities relied on the combination of individual duties, the annual art show made me feel proud of myself (even if my project did not in any way resemble the Modigliani piece it was supposed to), and teachers kindly but firmly correcting me behaviorally and academically kept me honest. Special shout out to Mr. Gaines for moving my desk to the very back corner of the room by itself while I was at recess, after a particularly chatty morning. Reading buddies and waiters created a sense of family and gave me role models among my peers, and eventually taught me how to be a leader and role model, too. Mr. S’s annual reading of the book about Ruby Bridges bravely integrating a New Orleans school, as well as his story of the runner who helped his opponent across the finish line instilled in me the values of respect for others, especially those who are different from myself. I really could go on and on about the ways the time-honored traditions of Meadowbrook shaped my values and who I am today. These traditions and daily occurrences are meaningful retrospectively, but to my elementary-aged self, they were just a part of the normal life of a Meadowbrook student. Little by little, small wisdoms were imparted on me, but at the time I was only aware of how much I enjoyed being at school.

My best friend at Meadowbrook, Sara Trost ’08, is my best friend tosaltzman family this day. The way in which Meadowbrook nurtured our friendship is amazing, but I think it speaks even more to the culture of Meadowbrook that both Sara and I are passionate about pursuing careers related to education. Meadowbrook is a special place that fosters each student’s individuality while teaching them how to be good community members, and more than that, good people. I ended up getting that job at the non-profit in Philadelphia. Through my experience there, it became even more clear to me how important elementary-education is, and how lucky I am to have spent my childhood at Meadowbrook. It is rare to find a school that cares as much about its students and families as much as Meadowbrook does, and even more rare to find a school that genuinely cares about its alumni in the same way. I’m thankful that I’ll always be welcomed home at Meadowbrook.

Children helping in the community

Everyone needs to feel needed, and everyone wants to have a place to belong. Because screen time and after-school activities tend to eat up so much of our time in this day and age, the younger generation is less likely to know the satisfaction of a job well done, the thrill of being an active member in a close-knit community, and the joy helping others can bring.

Getting your children involved in their community is a great way to help them feel a sense of importance and belonging, and give them some time away from the screen to experience life and the world around them.
There are many ways to get your kids out of the house and contributing to the community. When deciding what kind of community service projects you would like to see your family participate in, consider the talents and interests of your children. If the work is appealing and engaging to them, they will be much more likely to go in with a good attitude and come out feeling accomplished.

Below are a few ways you and your children can help out in your community.

Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Children who enjoy cooking and serving food might be interested in volunteering at a local soup kitchen. To make the experience more fun, consider allowing each of your children to bring a friend along and remind them to chat it up with the folks who come through the food line. They may even leave with a few new friends.

Volunteer at a Fundraising Event

Every community has a variety of fundraising events each year. The organizers of these events are always in need of volunteers to help keep things running smoothly. By selling snacks or drinks, helping with set-up or break-down, or offering to perform (if music or dance is your thing) you will get to spend the day at a fun event while helping the community around you.

Plant Trees or Flowers

Many community spaces such as parks are in need of more greenery. Grab a shovel and your kids and start planting trees and flowers to make your community a beautiful place to be. Just be sure to get permission before you begin this project!

Pick Up Litter

One quick and easy way to help keep your spot on Earth clean is to pick up litter whenever you see it. By teaching your little ones to do this, you ensure that a new generation of community members will be committed to keeping their world pretty. To make an even bigger impact, set aside an entire day in which you and your family head to a local park to clean up. This can be a great bonding experience, and the reward is a nice, clean park to enjoy.

Visit a Nursing Home

Many people living in nursing homes rarely have visitors. Help cheer up these lonely folks by visiting on a regular basis. Have your children make and bring cards to share, sing carols around the holidays, bring a book to read together, or just sit and chat. Whatever your family decides to do while you are there, your new friends are sure to appreciate the company.

This is just a small selection of ways you could encourage your kids to contribute to their community. Sit down with your kids, consider all the options, pick one, and head out to make the world a better place.