St. Theodore students learn to lead through service

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Fifth-graders at St. Theodore’s Catholic School are learning to lead through service.

Every third Friday or so, kids work on servant leadership for an hour or more, hearing about decision-making, listening and making valuable friendships. They also choose their own service project so that they can give back to the community.

&8220;I think that servant leadership is a great thing for kids, so that they learn how to make friends and have activities that make them feel happy because they’re helping other people,&8221; said student Andie Harveaux.

The kids voted, and decided to make tied fleece blankets for the Crisis Nursery. They had to raise the money to buy the materials themselves, asking other kids for money for the project.

&8220;We put up posters and our goal was to make $200, and we made $228,&8221; said fifth-grader Daniel Merna. &8220;I love it, I put a lot of hard work into it, all the tying and cutting.&8221;

The kids have done other projects in the past, making giggle bags stuffed with joke books and fun stuff for kids for the Albert Lea clinic and picking up litter from roads.

&8220;We went to pick up trash and it was fun and we got to be outside,&8221; said John Buringa.

Sheri Nemec has been working with concepts of servant leadership already in her job as staff development coordinator with the Austin Medical Center. She found the curriculum for kids at a conference in Indianapolis and brought it back.

&8220;And it’s been a good project,&8221; Nemec said. &8220;Hopefully they’ll have things they can take away with them when they leave that will let them think about some things differently. Just &8216;how can I give to somebody else,’ if it’s just that, that’s enough.&8221;

The kids will give their blankets to the Crisis Nursery in May.

(Contact Kari Lucin at kari.lucin@albertleatribune.com.)