|Parker middle schoolers sort items at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.|
|Making bowl selections at the Empty Bowls hunger awareness evening last week. 8th graders organized the event and raised over $1,150 for Joseph's House, a homeless shelter in Troy.|
For the last four weeks, the whole middle school has gone to the Regional Food Bank on Friday afternoons to do what ever needs doing there: sorting rotten from good cucumbers or organizing boxes of toiletries. It is truly "hands-on" and it helps them understand the massive logistics of ameliorating local hunger. It gives them practice in what we hope will be a life-long habit of helping others.
What is their reward? As I used to tell my own children, "Your reward is the satisfaction of a job well done." Research shows that material reinforcement is not the most effective way to stimulate generosity - it's the "warm glow" that works. In the New York Times article, Understanding How Children Develop Empathy, Perry Klaus, MD, tells about the brain chemistry that makes this so.