By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
Not only is Pleasant Valley Elementary third-grade teacher Chris Johnson teaching his students their multiplication tables, he’s also teaching them valuable lessons in humanity.
Johnson’s class of 21 students decided to do their part in caring for others this holiday season with their Just remember Others before Yourself (JOY) project.
For the project, the students collected enough food and snacks to fill eight Christmas baskets to donate to the clients at the Union Mission.
“I talked with the kids about the gift exchange and talked about introducing them to what a service project might be,” Johnson said. “I told them Christmas is a time to remember others before ourselves.”
Johnson told his students that they could vote on whether to do a classroom gift exchange or a service project.
“Seventeen out of 21 voted for the service project,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he hopes this is an effort that can become schoolwide in the future. If each classroom can put together eight baskets, he said, then imagine the impact that an entire school could make.
“A $5 gift for a gift exchange will be gone in a year,” he said. “But by doing this we’re making someone’s Christmas better.”
One of Johnson’s students, Amelia Messenger, said that the project made her feel “great.”