Engaging students in service

Students in the afterschool program made no sew fleece blankets for the needy. All of the blankets were donated to Sacred Heart.

On Thursday, December 16th, students in the After School Heroes and Starfish Corps programs took part in City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley’s fourth annual Fleece Blanket Project.  As a Project Leader at CYSJ, I have had the amazing opportunity to lead our Corps Members and after school program students in this project.

The Fleece Blanket Project began in 2007, when CYSJ’s Heroes program initiated the project.  The following year, Whole School Whole Child (WSWC) Senior Corps Member Christine Hodgson brought the project to Starfish Corps. In 2009 and 2010, we have continued to engage both elementary school and middle school students in service to their communities by having them make blankets and donate them to needy members of the community.

This year, CYSJ was able to do this project thanks to support from our corps members, friends and family, alumni, teachers and principals, and even our students themselves.

This service required a lot of preparation and after-hours effort from Corps Members, including:

  • Raising money to meet the site’s ambitious goal of $1,700 to buy the fleece.
  • Hosting two after hours Prep Parties, which brought together corps, staff and alumni to work together to pre-cut sheets of fleece so that they were ready for student assembly.
  • Conducting interviews and arranging school visits from the project’s partner organization, Sacred Heart, in order to get the students excited for the project.

All of that work created a huge impact. Here is what we were able to accomplish:

  • CYSJ’s 46 WSWC corps members led their 500 student-strong Starfish Corps and After School Heroes in one afternoon of service!
  • Students assembled 145 blankets, which will be given to Sacred Heart to donate to needy families in San Jose.
  • To date, the Enrichment Coordinator team has raised over $1,000, and expect to have no problems in meeting the total fund-raising goal of $1,700.

The project is great for young students because it’s so simple; it requires absolutely no sewing.  Corps members pair two 1½ yard x 1½ yard sheets of fleece together.  Then, they cut off all four corners and make three-inch cuts into the blanket every inch along the edges.  The fleece is then ready for the students to tie the top and bottom strips together, and easily create a fleece blanket for someone in need!

If you would like to help support the project, you can:

  • Write a check to City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley, with “Blanket Project” in the memo line.  Mail checks to 90 N. 1st Street, San Jose, CA  95113 Attn:  Greg Currey
  • Donate with a credit card on the City Year website.  Just make sure that you select our site, San Jose/Silicon Valley, as the site to support, and that you mention the blanket project in the comment field.
  • RSVP to our Facebook event that is in support of the Fleece Blanket Project.

Greg Currey, Academic Enrichment Project Leader CYSJ

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