Sunset Ridge third-graders give back to community

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Sunset Ridge third-grade students devleoped 16 birthday bags that were donated to Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) earlier this month as part of a social studies service learning project.

The curriculum includes a unit where students study about their local community and the goods and services provided to the community, along with the value citizens add, teacher Diane Masnica said.

"I wanted to get the students engaged in hands on learning and giving back to their community and what it means to be a good citizen,'' she said. "When we presented the idea to the students they were thrilled. Many could relate to having grand parties for their own birthdays and thought it was incredibly sad that not all children have the opportunity to celebrate their special day.''

The classes decided to develop "birthdays-in-a-bag" for families in need. Each of the four classes created two girl- and boy-themed bags. The classes voted on the themes for each bag. Masnica said her classes went with Thomas the Train, Star Wars, Barbie and a princess theme.

The classes spent about a month collecting and organizing donations before putting the bags together on March 8.

"I do have to say when I looked out into the crowd and saw the pride on the students' faces and the excitement as they packed up the birthday bags it was a great sense of accomplishment and pride in our Sunset Ridge third-graders,'' Masnica said.

Classes also toured MOM this week.

"We felt it was important for the children to see where their donations were going,'' Masnica said.