Gaining Skills While Giving Back

This past Monday, our Parker 6th grade (with the support of Parker STEM teacher John Sherry) 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 four 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 cans, it was so fun to check in every day and see how many cans were 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 academic excellence of our students and the humanitarian values of our community really shone through as the Parker sixth grade came away with several awards, including “Structural Ingenuity”, “Most Funds Raised”, and the “Best Meal Award”. However, the real reward was the opportunity to 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 pretty 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.”
The 6th grade needs your VOTES!!!Simply click “VOTE” below, which should direct you to the Shalom Food Pantry Facebook post. ***Vote by “LIKE”in the picture of our Parker Parthenon!*