Karen Ohrn delivers care packages to Sally Hamilton, board member for Showers of Blessing | Credit: Courtesy

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Crane School second graders put their money where their hearts are this week by curating care packages for Showers of Blessing guests, which their teacher, Karen Ohrn, delivered to the commuter lot shower session yesterday morning. The packages included socks, toothbrushes, healthy snacks, lotions, gift cards, and more than a few dollars from the children’s piggy banks. Enacting their school’s “Put We before Me” motto, they gathered items for people who are without homes or other necessities. They gathered so many quality items, they were able to create thirty care packages. Guests of Showers of Blessing enjoyed choosing packages that contained items they would especially enjoy. Smiles and nods demonstrated their pleasure at their chosen items, as well as their comments; “thank you,” and “oh yeah,” and “yes; that one.” Their lives on the street, or living in their vehicles, are often cold, uncomfortable, and lacking basic comforts. Showers of Blessing provides hot showers for anyone in need at the commuter lot at 400 W. Carrillo Street on Tuesday mornings from 10 to 1, and at five other sites during the week. See https://showersofblessingsb.org. Showers of Blessing serves 45 showers each week at the commuter lot and up to 35 at other sites around town, and in Goleta and Isla Vista. 

A guest selects a package | Credit: Courtesy

The idea of putting together care packages to help others started during the second-grade community unit. The second-grade teachers, Karen Ohrn, Lee Lopez, and Iyana Eubanks wanted their students to learn what it means to be part of a community and to discover the importance of helping others. Incorporating one of the school’s mottos, “Doing Deepens Discovery,” the teachers created a business unit to teach the students about different roles people play in a community. After a field trip to Santa Barbara City Hall and an interview with Mayor Rowse, the students decided to create their own downtown with student run businesses. They wrote business plans, applied for a business license, designed business cards, and made posters for their stores. On business day they set up their pop-up stores and invited family and Crane teachers and students to come “pretend shop” using class money. While no real money exchanged hands, the young business owners had sold over $20,000 worth of goods and services. When asked what they would do with the money if they had really collected $20,0000, many of them said they would give half to charity. Several students commented that they knew there were people who are without homes and others in need of basic necessities. The second graders said they wanted to help those in need. As the discussion grew, many students wondered how they could really help people. 

The class discussed ways to raise money and items they could collect. A list was made, and students decided to each bring in one item from the list. The class had hopes of making one or two care packages to give away. The students really took to heart one of the other Crane mottos, “Put We before Me”; each day the items kept pouring in. Instead of one item, many kids brought in several things, including gift cards and money from their own piggy banks. Then the students sorted all the items and picked out 8-10 items to put in a gallon size bag. The students were amazed when they realized they were able to make 30 care packages! The Crane Second Graders learned that being part of a community means more than just having a business. They discovered that kids can make a difference in their communities by thinking creatively and by opening their hearts to those in need. 


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