Project Love Gifts

The Problem

I am working to end youth suicide caused by emotional stress. I was assisting with a fifth grade 4-H school club last year in a local elementary school, and the students who had been nominated were giving their officer campaign speeches. I watched as this one young girl stood in front of her class, but instead of telling her classmates about why they should vote for her, she talked about the hardships of her young life. She talked about the way she had been treated at her old school in a different state, how she deoes not know where her family is, and how she hates her life. All I could think about was where she would be in the future and the likelihood of her committing suicide. I realized that there are many other children in my own community who are facing similar battles, and I felt called to help. I created Project Love Gifts as a response to my feelings that day. Small actions of kindness can make a difference in saving a life.

Plan of Action

Project Love Gifts is a two-fold project. One part focuses on informing others about the importance of kindness and how small actions can add up to save a life. The other part of the project is creating and delivering the love gifts to local elementary school students on Valentine's Day who are struggling with situations of emotional stress or abuse. Some of these situations include loss of parent, separation from family, health related issues, or abuse. Each love gift contains handmade Valentine's Day cards, a friendship bracelet, a small stuffed animal, a journal, a pen or pencil, and candy. I was able to deliver thirty-nine love gifts last year on Valentine's Day at two local elementary schools as well as to the Community House, a center for battered and abused women and children. I also directly impacted people though teaching kindness workshops. I am hoping to see this project grow this year. I have created a facebook page, video, brochure, and display board to help promote PLG. I have set up my display at local and state 4-H events as well as at school. I will be teaching two workshops and setting up the display at a statewide 4-H event where I will be able to reach about eighty people through the workshops and over three hundred people through the display. Part of the workshop is creating a chain reaction of kindness. Participants write acts of kindness on links of paper, and the links are connected to create a chain reaction of kindness that represents a life that was saved from suicide by kindness. I have also given presentations at church and at school, and I hope to also get the Newnan Youth Council and other service organizations involved. I am planning on giving a presentation to the Board of Education, and I must receive their approval again in order to work with the elementary schools. I will be placing collection jars at the 4-H office, at church, and at other community buildings around town. I am also contacting the Atlanta radio and news stations about promoting PLG through them. My goal in to see Project Love Gifts grow this year. I would like to be able to deliver at least sixty love gifts and be able to reach out to over one thousand people through workshops and promotion.

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