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Lansing Middle School Aims to "Be the Good" in Local Community

For the third consecutive year, sixth grade students at Lansing Middle School worked together to make a direct, positive impact on their community. This year’s “Be the Good” projects took place around regular instruction during the first quarter, with time set aside for students to brainstorm and execute how they wanted to “Be the Good” in the Lansing community.

A few of the projects’ main goals were relationship building, community building and satisfaction from helping others. Sixth grade students broke into eight groups of around 12 students and decided what they wanted their projects to focus on. Groups chose to make a difference right at Lansing Middle School, as well as various areas in the surrounding neighborhood.

At the middle school, one group made seven fleece blankets and two patchwork blankets for those in need during the winter. The homemade blankets were donated to the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County.

“It will be a nice piece of comfort for the people that receive them without a doubt. This is a very thoughtful act of kindness and will be very appreciated,” said the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County.

A group of students also knit 14 baby hats using mini looms, which they donated to the Cayuga Medical Center. They filmed a video explaining the process of how the hats were made, showing their teamwork and collaboration throughout the project. The students plan to continue knitting hats on Fridays during the school year.

Another group headed outside to the Nature Center behind Lansing High School. The students sanded and stained the benches that are part of the Nature Center’s outdoor classroom. They also spread mulch around the classroom area and weeded any overgrown sections. They hope to continue maintaining the Nature Center with periodic upkeeping so students can enjoy the outdoor classroom.

A group of sixth-graders partnered with second-graders at R.C. Buckley Elementary School to read picture books together. The students in this group reported that they enjoyed the project because they were able to have younger students look up to them and teacher younger kids that reading can be fun.

“I chose this focus group because I love reading and I love to motivate younger children to read,” said Piper, Lansing sixth grade student.

Many students decided to create toys for cats or dogs at the SPCA of Tompkins County. For dogs, they made tug toys out of braided strips of denim fabric and tennis balls. They also assembled crinkle toys made from fabric wrapped plastic bottles. For cats, the students made wands which consisted of wooden spindles and yarn with tied feathers on the end. They made fuzzy blankets for the animals to use as well.

Outside the Lansing campus, one group chose to “make new (older) friends” by visiting Woodsedge, a local senior housing development. The group brought musical instruments and played a couple songs for the residents. After the performance, students mingled with the residents, playing card games and checkers. The students were especially excited that one of the residents was a 1937 Lansing High School graduate.

“I hope to go back and visit, make more friends and hear more stories,” said Leilani, sixth grade student.

Students also partnered with Foodnet Meals on Wheels to pack lunches to support meal preparation for those in the community in need of assistance during the winter. They packaged 450 blizzard bags containing oatmeal, peanut butter, crackers, raisins and granola bars. The students were shown how the meals are packaged and delivered to homes as well.

Group meetings were held each Friday throughout October to plan and work on the projects. On Thursday, Oct. 24, after all the projects were completed, the sixth grade convened in the middle school auditorium to present their work to their classmates.

The majority of sixth grade students agreed that they enjoyed volunteering for the “Be the Good” projects and would like to do them again. They shared that they enjoyed helping people in need, making people feel good, helping the community and gaining new experiences.

During the presentations, a sixth grade student summed up the experience by stating: “I liked making other people happy because that makes me happy."