Creston Community Schools kindergarten teacher Salina Chestnut has been quietly teaching her students to make a difference for the past seven years.
“I was looking for a project-based opportunity to bring awareness to my students” said Chesnut. “It’s probably the most rewarding project (I do).”
Each year she has her kindergartners make hand-made “Kindness Cards” to sell in the community to raise money for a food-related cause. This year they are supporting the Creston Area Food Pantry. In alternate years, they have supported MATURA.
The project has grown over the years, raising $35 three years ago and $100 last year. Chesnut said the 22 students have created over a hundred cards so far this year. Each card sells for $1.
All through October, the students create colorful cards to sell. Chesnut said the students enjoy coloring the cards.
“They’ve been doing this all month, and they’re still excited,” she said.
She said, as they color, the students tell her stories about the cards. The stories have meaning to the students, which adds another layer of personalization to the cards.
“A lot of heart goes into each card,” Chesnut said.
In November the cards go on sale. The students will continue to make cards as needed, including to fill any special requests such as Christmas cards.
At the beginning of December, Chesnut will collect the money raised and buy food from local grocery stores. She brings the food into the classroom so the students can see the results of their work. Then the students will help load the food into a vehicle for transport to the food pantry.
Chesnut said she wants her students to understand that there are families in need in their community and that they can help.
“No matter how small they are, they can make a difference in their world, in their community,” Chesnut said.
Those who are interested in purchasing the cards can find them at Adams Street Espresso, 213 W. Adams St., or The Bookwyrm, 210 N. Maple St. or contact Chesnut at (641) 782-2724 or email@example.com.
Chesnut said she welcomes additional businesses who would like to provide an outlet for customers to buy the cards to contact her as well.
Editor’s note: this article was written with the help of Florence Maynes and Mendy McCreight’s Creston Community Middle School Pride Time Reading Exploration Group — Landan Latham, Sarabeth ShakShak, Cameron Jennings, Ale Page, Gabe Lovell, Jake Hoyt, Nicole Johnson, Joshua Scarpello, Alleigh Hoffman, Damion Meyer, Lucas Page, Drake Rehmeyer and Diego Rivas.