- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) - Greenwood Mill Elementary School students are working to make the world a better place one project at a time.

Each month, students in Katie Fune’s fifth-grade class complete a service-learning project that benefits the community.

“We’re teaching (students) about citizenship and being members of their community,” Fune said. Service-learning “gives them an opportunity to get involved at their level, so hopefully they do it on their own in the future.”

On Dec. 18, students assembled about 50 “I care” kits to donate to the Congregational-Community Action Project (C-CAP), which serves those in need. The kits contain travel-sized hygiene items such as toothpaste, shampoo and hand sanitizer.

“All the classmates and all the teachers pitched in and gathered things for all the people who don’t have anything,” fifth-grader Kaylene Todd said. “We’re going to make ‘I care’ kits so they can clean themselves and not get sick.”

Classmate Victoria Poulton said putting the kits together was her favorite project this year. “We get to do active things,” she said. “We can actually put it together and make it ourselves.”

Earlier this year, students collected items for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Winchester, Frederick and Clarke counties and took a field trip to the facility to deliver the items. Students also collected shoes and clothes for C-CAP and the Henry and William Evans Home for Children.

Fune began doing service-learning projects about a decade ago as a teacher in Shenandoah County.

Since that time, she’s seen students choose to make donations to charities on their birthdays rather than receive gifts.

“A lot of people really are appreciative (of the students’ projects),” Fune said. “One little tube of toothpaste is part of a bigger picture.”

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Information from: The Winchester Star, https://www.winchesterstar.com

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