In elementary school and high school, people tend to have mixed feelings about P.E. class.
For some people, P.E. was a fun time to let off a little energy, get loose and play some games in the middle of the day—all you really had to do was participate in order to get a good grade.
On the other hand, it was also a time for self-consciousness for shy students. Overall though, P.E. is generally not taken very seriously and is considered something of a blow-off class.
Fortunately, one school is setting out to change that perception.
The school we’re talking about is the Alternative Learning Center in Dubuque, Iowa.
Social studies teacher Tim Hitzler started a program that was an alternative to the normal physical education curriculum.
Instead of simply playing games, students would sign up to help the elderly and people with disabilities in their community by performing physical acts of service for them. These acts could range from mowing the lawn, helping clean up around the house, doing garden work and so much more.
The way it’s connected is that anybody who does these chores can get school credit!
Needless to say, the program has been a big hit at the school with benefits for everybody involved.
According to an interview with Hitzler published in People, exposing children to the service seemed to lead to more interest in these activities in the future. “Once kids do it once, they want to do it again,” he said.
“It’s good for them to learn real-life skills.” The program was launched four years ago, right after the school started its own on-site garden that students could work in.
Although the response to the program was hesitant at first, it has blossomed over the years.
Aside from giving the students more options, the program has brought the community closer together as well.
“I’ve had students that graduated that have come back to help,” Hitzler told People. “There’s something about helping that really need it.” Although the idea behind this entire project is relatively simple, the response to the program among students and among community members has been huge! Aside from helping people and finding new ways to earn school credit, it’s also solving all kinds of local community issues as well.
It never hurts to learn some practical life skills, after all!
Ultimately, stories like this warm our hearts.
Although we learn all kinds of things while we’re in school, there’s plenty of stuff that often gets left out. We never explicitly learn that it’s good to be good to other people, or that people in the community deserve our help when they need it.
Beyond that, we often get into adulthood and realize that we never learned how to do all kinds of practical home skills, things like yard work and cleaning around the house. Fortunately, this Iowa program crosses off all those boxes in one fell swoop.
Special thanks to teacher Tim Hetzler for pioneering this awesome program!
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