Sixth Grade Service Project Supports Jeremiah’s Place

A few days before spring break, the sixth grade homeroom was full of spring colors. Students were busy crafting decorations for a cause that many feel passionate about.
This year’s Sixth Grade Service Project supports Jeremiah’s Place, Pittsburgh's only 24-hour crisis nursery, which provides emergency childcare in a safe and secure environment for families who need this assistance during difficult situations. Jeremiah’s Place will hold its annual fundraising gala later this spring, with decorations crafted by Ellis sixth graders.

Classmates Autumn Mohring and Payten Butler said they enjoyed making the decorations because it’s creative and is different from what they normally do in the classroom. They said they’ve also learned about who the organization supports and are glad they can help.

“I like this because you get to help people who are in need and spread a great experience to them,” Autumn said.

Middle School Division Head Jenn Moynihan said teachers have been intentional about building service opportunities into the fiber of the school year across classes and divisions, and they want to be thoughtful about helping students understand what it means to serve a community.

“We really want students to be thinking beyond service hours and donating money, and instead think about the skills and passions they possess and how they can channel those things into helping a community,” Ms. Moynihan said. “One of the most important things in that process is understanding that community and what they need.”

Entrepreneurship is a theme that carries through the sixth grade curriculum at Ellis, with many programs and activities building toward Ellis Entrepreneurs, an end-of-year event in which Ellis students display items they have created. There is an entrepreneurial connection with Jeremiah’s Place as well, Ms. Moynihan said, as the organization was founded by three women—two doctors and an early childhood educator—who saw a need for this service in the community.

“There’s a very tangible outcome here in that there will be a gala and our students will provide the decorations, but we hope this leads to future opportunities for volunteering and community service as well,” Ms. Moynihan said.

*Those who want to support Jeremiah’s Place beyond the sixth graders’ work can do so by voting for the organization in the Target Circle app, spreading the word about the “Helping Hands Celebration” fundraising event on April 18, 2024, purchasing items from the organization’s wishlist, or making a donation.

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