Gaining Skills While Giving Back

Snapshot | December 10, 2021
This past Monday, our Parker 6th grade (with the support of Parker STEM teachers John Sherry and Rose Nolan) participated in Kids CAN Build!, an event hosted by Shalom Food Pantry at Crossgates Mall in Colonie. Kid’s CAN Build is a project for middle school students that brings awareness to food insecurity locally while simultaneously allowing students to incorporate valuable STEAM learning. Parker was one of five teams chosen to compete and build a structure out of canned food items that will eventually be donated to local food pantries.
Kids CAN Build fits beautifully with Parker’s mission and core values. In designing and engineering a structure that could be built using only cans, our students were able to exercise their intellectual vibrancy. At the same time, the process of CANraising (securing canned goods donations) and the ultimate mission of the project raised students’ ethical awareness and encouraged social responsibility. As one sixth grader put it, “Donating to the food pantry is pretty awesome. While we were raising the money, it was so fun to check in every day and see how much was coming in. It felt like all of Parker was supporting the 6th grade, and all of Parker had a part in the project. We all feel pretty good about being to help people in need.”
Another sixth grader reflected on the building process: “It made us be creative and work together to figure out what kind of design we want. As for the physical building part, we really had to cooperate and pay attention to each other. It was hard but cool to see how we all worked together.”
Ultimately, the support of our community really shone through as the Parker sixth grade came away from the day with an award for “Most Funds Raised”, breaking the record for this event by raising the most ever in support of the food pantry. However, the real reward was the opportunity for the sixth grade to share their time, their talents, and their energy in reaching out to others with kindness. As John Sherry reflected at the end of the day, “The thing I think about as I look around at all these amazing structures that were made is the crazy amount of work by the students, who wanted these cans not just for their project but also for the people who would ultimately benefit. Looking at all these structures today, I just know that as beautiful as they are, in one week when they come down, they won’t even compare to the smiles on the faces of all the food pantry workers, the sick, the hungry, and the people who we are helping with this project. I think that is the real message, and that is what we tried to drive home through this project.”
How Robert C. Parker Spreads the Warmth ~ The 6th Grade Storyboard
Dear Reader,
It has been two long, uncertain years since the last Kids Can Build competition due to Covid. The sixth grade class of Robert C. Parker School has had a lot of time to reflect on how they “Spread the Warmth!” For some, it means a cozy blanket, a warm fire, and a steaming hot cup of cocoa. For others it means sharing the field during a fun and energizing sports game. Most of all, it means Spreading the Warmth of a hot cooked meal to those in need. This year, Robert C. Parker School has brought together the best of both worlds; by building a warm fire, a beloved pet, and a table with mugs of hot cocoa all out of cans that will be donated to a local food pantry. Finally, we want to thank our generous donors and we hope you enjoy our structure!
The 6th Grade Class of Robert C. Parker School