Research indicates that social-emotional learning (SEL) improves academic performance and outcomes across all areas of life. These lessons guide students in understanding emotions by learning to have empathy for those around them. Molly Schuster, a 4th grade teacher at Case Avenue Elementary School, witnessed firsthand the profound and lasting effect these lessons had on her students, their families, and our community.
Ms. Schuster explains, “Our most recent lesson was teaching students how to show compassion to those in your community. We discussed how our frontline healthcare workers are demonstrating compassion by volunteering extra hours to work vaccine clinics. We talked about how, with those crazy schedules, those healthcare workers often don’t have time for lunch breaks and could benefit from grabbing quick snacks. That’s how the idea for the snack bags came to be.”
Following their lesson, Ms. Schuster and fellow teachers, Heather Scullin and Norann Bianco, got to work! The Case Avenue teachers began reaching out to parents to request donations, which included wrapped snacks for their snack bags. To their amazement, they received an overwhelming amount of snacks! So much so, that Case Avenue’s entire fourth grade class spent an afternoon packing hundreds of snack bags to donate to various hospitals and COVID vaccine clinics throughout the Shenango Valley, including Primary Health Network’s Sharon COVID clinic.
Dr. George Garrow, Chief Medical Officer of Primary Health Network, states, “Our staff has been working extremely hard to keep our communities healthy and safe through COVID testing and vaccination clinics, while continuing to provide quality care to our patients. This donation has truly lifted their spirits. On behalf of Primary Health Network, we thank Case Avenue, their students, and teachers for their thoughtful donation to our staff.”