Yes! Our very own Kristen Cifuentes and Leah Nittoso have been awarded an NJEA HIPP grant for the 2016 – 2017 year!
The NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education makes it possible for public school employees to receive grants that will help them bring creative ideas to life.
The only foundation of its kind in New Jersey, the Hipp Foundation supports initiatives to promote excellence in education. More than $1.6 million in grants for innovative educational projects that represent a bold, fresh approach by public school employees has already been awarded. And these funds come from YOUR dues! So your dues money goes to members…and to students.
Leah and Kristen’s project, , “Service Saturday” was awarded the full amount they requested… $6,500! They can now fully fund 5 service learning projects at the Melvin H. Kreps Middle School.
The plan is that to have 5 Service Saturdays per school year. The events include:
Service Saturday #1: October – Students will support the local food bank by creating bagged lunches. Each lunch will contain one apple(or seasonal fruit), one juice box, one peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich and one granola bar. Each bag will be decorated seasonally with drawings and positive messages. We will collaborate with the food bank about drop off/pick up of the items.
Service Saturday #2: December – Students will create personal care packages for the local, community women’s shelter. This shelter assists women and their families to escape from abusive living situations. The personal care packages will be put together to support the various cultural needs of the women and families. Each kit will contain full size shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, feminine hygiene items, hair brush and deodorant.
Service Saturday #3: February – Students will make no-sew blankets. These blankets will require large amounts of uncut fleece. Students will be placed into small groups to cut the fleece into required sizes based on their child (infant, child, teenager) and then cut the edges and tie them off. These will be donated to the local children’s hospital.
Service Saturday #4: March – Students will assist our local soup kitchen. For this activity we will require silverware, napkins and lots of fun, colorful ribbons. The students will be responsible for sorting the silverware, create bundles, wrapping the bundles in napkins, and securing the bundles with ribbon. In addition, the soup kitchen asks for individuals to stuff and seal informational envelopes. During this Saturday, seeds will be planted and placed in our school’s greenhouse so they can begin growing in time for May’s Service Saturday.
Service Saturday #5: May – Students will focus on campus cleanup and will identify areas of the school campus that would benefit from gardening. We will have students in small teams raking leaves and pulling weeds. These students would place leaves and weeds to be disposed of properly. Other students will create a composting bin for leaves to be placed into. The school would also like to host a “compost off” where students will be taught during lunches which items can be composted (banana peels, apple cores, but not chicken patties) and encouraged to add to the compost bin during lunch. Students will complete the activity by planting plants that have sprouted in our greenhouse and mulching those areas to keep weeds away.
Stay tuned for more information next year so that you too can be a part of this initiative!