No Act Of Kindness Is Too Small: Washington Open Elementary School Spreads Kindness

May 13 2020

StandUp for Kids - Silicon Valley

Last year, in spring 2019 Washington Open Elementary School in Santa Clara held their first  Community Service Fair on their campus. When the Washington Open Parent Faculty Group (WOPFG) planned the event, Elisha Gariula, President of the WOPFG reached out to StandUp for Kids - Silicon Valley to see what may be of use at our outreach center, The Village.

Gargiulo explained “Our school is such a supportive, positive place to be and we have the ability to impact our greater community positively as well. We also want our students to know that their small acts of kindness have a huge impact on the community they live in.”

She further explained that they wanted to support teens directly in our community and therefore chose StandUp For Kids because “As a school community whose goal it is to support children, it is a natural fit and we do what we can.”

The school has a longterm relationship with StandUp for Kids. One of our dedicated volunteers, Jeannette Weedermann is an alumni parent at the school. Gargiulo stated that Jeannette often “shared what a great organization it is and how easy it is to help and support at-risk teens.”

In fact, for several years StandUp for Kids worked closely together with the school community, especially with the awesome 4th and 5th grader Student Council group, which organized a couple of needed snacks and household drives for our outreach center, The Village.

Last spring, students, parents, and staff created Community Fair projects for a number of non-profit organizations, like StandUp for Kids, which benefited from the efforts of the school community. Students also got a sense of satisfaction about the work they did to serve others.

Kristin Jantzen was one of many parent volunteers at the event. She helped run the workstation of creating a gigantic Jenga game for StandUp for Kids, made of wooden 2x4 blocks. In an earlier interview with SVVoice.com Janzen explained “We had wood blocks that we were sanding down to make a giant Jenga set for the [homeless] teens. Our kids put on gloves and sanded down the rough edges and splinters with sandpaper. We filled up a giant plastic tub with the Jenga blocks. Something neat that I saw at the sanding table was that the older kids — the fourth and fifth-graders — were working together to help the younger kids sand the blocks. The blocks will build a three-foot tower.” Over the last year, homeless youth played with the jenga blocks for endless hours at the Village, and bonded with the StandUp for Kids volunteers. The kids had a chance to forget their harsh lives for a moment and have fun.

Another project for StandUp for Kids was a beautiful heart art piece made up of hundreds of big and small fingerprints, to decorate our center. What a unique and powerful project to brighten up the Village!

According to Gariula “The entire community really enjoyed the opportunity to come together and work on projects benefiting the local community. Many families had heard of StandUp for Kids - Silicon Valley and loved being part of the team, cutting, sanding, and painting the large Jenga set and adding fingerprints to the large canvas heart art piece. We received loads of positive feedback from families and staff who are looking forward to future events and showing our students that their small acts of kindness create a big impact.”

StandUp for Kids is grateful and fortunate to be one of the selected nonprofit organizations to benefit from the caring school community. We totally agree that small acts of kindness have a big impact. Both projects from last year brought so much joy and happiness into our outreach center, The Village. A big THANK YOU from all of us to the Washington Open School community!

Due to COVID-19 this year, the Community Fair got postponed for now; however, future projects between Washington Open Elementary School and StandUp for Kids are already planned.

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