Local students involved in the Hospice Kids Caring for Kids program are utilizing service-learning to identify ways to make the lives of terminally ill patients easier in Escondido, CA.
Thirty, 10 to 11-year-old students provide support services to the Pediatrics Hospice program at The Elizabeth Hospice through service-learning projects, including resale book drives and the entire creation and publication of a hospice cookbook. Their efforts benefit terminally ill children served by The Elizabeth Hospice.
The Hospice Kids Caring for Kids program at Orange Glen Elementary School was born out of a desire on the part of some socially aware, community spirited students who desired to serve pediatric hospice patients. Though they were legally too young to provide direct in-home support, they nevertheless wanted to help in some fashion.
Three years ago, two students came up with the idea for the class to collect previously read children's books as a class project, re-sell the books at school and at local grocery stores and donate the proceeds to The Elizabeth Hospice Pediatrics Program.
After three successful years, Hospice Kids Caring for Kids expanded from one classroom to a school-wide project, with other school districts expressing interest.
Recently, the children came up with a new approach to pediatrics support – "The Elizabeth Hospice Cookbook." Students are actively involved in the computer data input, page design and art work of a cookbook consisting of hundreds of recipes submitted by hospice volunteers and staff. These students are the beneficiaries of true service learning as they apply their skills to direct community service. Students then sell cookbooks and all proceeds go the hospice program.
The Hospice Kids Caring for Kids program effects quality of life issues on two important fronts. The first major impact is that the funds raised by these children go to serve terminally ill children at a most tragic time, providing comfort, support and love for both the children and their families. But almost equally important, Hospice Kids Caring for Kids impacts the lives of the student volunteers themselves. The program instills an ethic of volunteer spirit and validates the value of community service at an early age.