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Dover Post
  • Project CIVICS helps provide Christmas gifts for children throughout the CR district

  • Social studies classrooms throughout Caesar Rodney High School are filled with books, pencils and, at the moment, Christmas gifts. Students and faculty in the high school's social studies department are in the midst of the seventh annual Project CIVICS, a program where students and teachers band together to raise money and buy Christmas gifts for students in need from around the district.
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  • Social studies classrooms throughout Caesar Rodney High School are filled with books, pencils and, at the moment, Christmas gifts. Students and faculty in the high school's social studies department are in the midst of the seventh annual Project CIVICS, a program where students and teachers band together to raise money and buy Christmas gifts for students in need from around the district.
    The "CIVICS" in project CIVICS stands for Caesar Rodney Incorporates Volunteerism and Community Service. Social studies teacher Carla Lawson came up with the acronym and the project back in 2006.
    "It's a social studies standard to teach kids civic responsibility and participation," Lawson said. "I had a brain storm to start a real-life community project to give kids a chance to see what it's like to be involved and what options there are to give back."
    Each year Lawson contacts each school in the district and asks them to identify some of their students that need the most help. The social studies teachers at the high school then divvy up families amongst their classes and work to raise money and collect items to fulfil the wish lists the anonymous students have submitted. The program also provides gifts for the siblings of selected students so that the whole family can have a merry Christmas.
    The social studies department has created a number of ways for students and parents to get involved in Project CIVICS. Students can donate their spare change in collection boxes, parents can make tax deductible donations made out to Project CIVICS and CR families can send in items that are outlined on children's wish lists, like Zareah Giddens did.
    Giddens, a sophomore in one of Lawson's civics classes, decided to donate her Nintendo DS to a child who asked for one on their wish list.
    "I decided to give it away because, since I'm an only child, I pretty much get what I want," she said. "But then when I heard about how these kids want things that they don't have it made me feel bad. Plus I never use it so I decided to give it to someone who would really use it and be grateful for it."
    Students could also pitch in by rounding up items for the program's quarter auction, which was held Thursday night. Hyacinth Finkley, also a sophomore in Lawson's civics class, approached Buffalo Wild Wings in Dover and got them to donate gift cards for the auction.
    "I really felt good about helping out," Finkley said. "I know that it's going to help somebody in some kind of way, even if it's just getting them clothes or Christmas gifts … I've learned that you should be appreciative of everything that you have."
    Opening students' eyes to the world around them and showing them that they can make a difference are what's at the heart of Project CIVICS' goals, Lawson said.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It's all about kids hopefully becoming lifelong givers of something, whether it's giving their time or their money or just their ideas," Lawson said. "It's about them understanding how much does get done just out of goodness of people's hearts."
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