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Mena Enrichment Classes Choose ‘To Do’ Love: Promoting Recycling and Helping the Homeless

(MENA) Two Enrichment Classes, led by Mrs. Philpot and Mrs. Lindsey, exhibited the spirit of community and encouragement to take action.  During last year’s Enrichment period, Sophomores worked through a program titled “Choose Love”.  It was half-way through the program the class choose “To Do Love” and provide a service instead of watching a program on others choosing to do good works.  Mrs. Philpot gave them several ideas and after watching a couple videos the kids settled on making mats for the homeless from plastic, recyclable shopping bags.

Her students were so excited they began to share their project with peers, stimulating them to participate.   After presenting the project to Mr. Torix, who was principle at the time, and then to the faculty, a buzz was about the school and Mrs. Lindsey’s class got on board.  A school-wide effort in the form of an email campaign throughout Mena Public Schools assisted in collecting plastic bags.  Bags donations were received during the entire 2018-2019 school year.  Mrs. Philpot’s and Mrs. Lindsey’s class transformed these bags into plarn-  cutting and looping sections together to make long strands which were then wound into a ball.  While students produced plarn, Mrs. Philpot crocheted mats well into the summer.  Three mats are completed and three more are underway.  When all mats are completed, Mrs. Philpot will deliver them to a homeless shelter in Broken Arrow, OK whom she has been in contact with.

Each student who participated in the project walked away with a greater awareness of their own ability to help save our planet through recycling and their ability to offer assistance and encouragement to some a little less fortunate.  Students discovered a number of classmates in Polk County that do not have a bed to sleep on.  This process also instilled a sense of responsibility while at the same time dispelling the myth that all homeless people are druggies or are just lazy and unwilling to work.  From watching a documentary in class, Mrs. Philpot said it hit home when they learned, “1 out of every 3 Americans are 1 paycheck from being homeless.”

Choosing ‘To Do’ an act of love will carry through into this school year.  The 2019-2020 school year offers further opportunities to new students.  May we all learn from Mrs. Philpot and Mrs. Lindsey, as well as their students.  Each has truly grown from this Enrichment period project.

Submitted photos: Students making plarn and displaying a finished mat.

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