Class 1 Says, 'Yes We Can!'

With Thanksgiving approaching, the Chapin community has stepped up its efforts in helping those in need. Collecting canned goods and donating them to food banks is a tried-and-true method to give back to less fortunate people. Class 1 has expanded upon this act by asking students to also look inside themselves and consider ways they can improve as individuals, family members and citizens of the world.

Going strong for the last 15 years, the Class 1 Can Drive results in donations of much-needed cans of food, which the students bring on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Rather than simply purchasing items at the grocery store or getting them from a kitchen cabinet, the students are making the experience more meaningful, by fulfilling at least three personal goals for herself, such as getting dressed for school faster, clearing the table or making eye contact with adults. One goal equals one can, and so on.

To get started, the Class 1 teachers invited several Class 12 students to talk to the younger girls about their experiences with the Can Drive when they were in Class 1. Although 11 years have passed and they are young women now, the seniors remembered the project with much enthusiasm. Judging from the young students’ reactions, the enthusiasm was contagious.

After discussing the Can Drive and their personal objectives with parents or caregivers, the students had three weeks to work on their goals. They write down their accomplishments on a special tracking sheet that they share with their teachers. The Class 1 results are then recorded on colorful progress boards on each classroom door.

“I cleaned my room and had no candy for a day,” commented a student.

“I said thank you to the taxi driver,” added another.

“I played by myself and I cleaned up my room and played with my little sister,” offered a third.

To further enrich the Can Drive project, Class 1 went on a field trip to Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan to explore Canstruction, an international exhibition for which architects, engineers and contractors compete to design and build giant structures made entirely of full cans of food. At the close of the competition, all of the food from the “cansculptures” and food donations from the public will be donated to City Harvest. Needless to say, the girls were enthralled by the spectacular can creations.

This Friday, November 17, Class 1 will build their own versions of Canstruction using the donated cans in their classrooms. The hundreds of donated cans will be delivered to the nearby New York Common Pantry, where they will most certainly make a difference in families’ lives.

“The can drive made me happy because some people don’t have enough to eat.”

Click HERE to see photos.