Earlier this year Grand Rapids’ Child Discovery Center sent its second and third grade class to visit Mel Trotter Ministries and to learn more about homelessness. The classes had been asked to brainstorm ways they could transform their community earlier in the year and, overwhelmingly, the children desired to end homelessness, believing every person should have a home. Below is an account from Rosalie Kaser, a teacher at the Child Discovery Center, regarding this study:
Our teachers contacted several homeless shelters in Grand Rapids and invited them to share their mission with each of our classes. The children soon decided they wanted to help Mel Trotter Ministries over the course of the year, because Mel Trotter helped children too.
Six different groups were formed:
- Family Bonding
- Making Books
The Donations group asked our school community to donate gently-used goods, clothing, toys, and diapers. The Family Bonding group created games Mel Trotter families could play with. The Food group made items for a bake sale and raised more than $170 for Mel Trotter Ministries. The Making Books group wrote stories for families to read together. The Dollhouse group built a dollhouse for the children and the Games group created games for older children to enjoy. A few weeks ago, each group brought their donation – whether it was money or goods or games – to Mel Trotter Ministries. They were so excited to share their gifts and to better the lives of those living at the Mission.
Over the course of this study, our teachers asked students how they could tell someone was homeless. Their response was expected: people who stand on street corners with signs, asking for money, and wearing raggedy clothes. But now we know this: people become homeless for a variety of reasons and many of them are just like you and me. We trust that this experience will teach our students to help others in their community now and always.
HUGE thanks to Rosalie and Grand Rapids’ Child Discovery Center for their generous gifts! It is a wonderful treat interacting with the children of our Grand Rapids community, as they learn the good they are capable of and the difference they can make.