FREWSBURG - Each summer, the St. Susan Center serves up to 100 meals more per day than it does during other seasons.
Jennifer Swanson, visual arts and technology teacher at Robert H. Jackson Elementary School, has been working on a variety of community service projects with her students throughout the 2011-12 school year. As a final project for the year, her sixth-grade students created bowls to donate to the center.
"I had seen a lot of schools do the empty bowls project. It's part of our local community, and it keeps things closer to home. All of our projects this year have been distributed locally," Swanson said.
Sixth-grade students at Robert H. Jackson Elementary show off the bowls that they made to donate to the St. Susan Center. Also pictured are Jennifer Swanson, visual arts and technology teacher, (far left) and Sue Colwell, St. Susan Center director (far right).
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
The students spent two class periods rolling slabs of clay, shaping them into bowls, firing them in the kiln, glazing them, and then re-firing the bowls. On Thursday the students presented 24 bowls to Sue Colwell, director of the St. Susan Center.
"They did all of the work themselves, except firing the kiln. That was really my only job in this," Swanson said.
The donated bowls will be used for a fundraiser run by the St. Susan Center.
"We will probably auction them off. For the kids to have pitched in and made bowls, being a soup kitchen, it's very fitting. I'm thrilled, I'm excited. The kids did this, they put their time and sweat into it," Colwell said.
Community service projects help the students to see that what they are doing can make a difference in the lives of others, while increasing their self-esteem, Swanson said.
"It's kind of like, 'small hands make a big difference.' When they can see it, when it's tangible, they know what they're doing," Swanson said. "Hopefully, they'll carry through and continue to do things like this in the future."
The St. Susan Center is always looking for creative ways to help the center. It has a $5 A Month Club, where a monthly donation of $5 can help with operations of the center. The St. Susan Center also accepts non-perishable food items, and is always looking for volunteers.
"Some days, the line is around the wall and out the door. Where would people be if we didn't have the soup kitchen?" Colwell asked. "Every small part, big part, we can't do it without the community."