VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - For eight years, Virginia Beach fifth grade teacher Stephanie Wyman has been incorporating philanthropy in her math curriculum at Woodstock Elementary. It’s a project to deliver much-needed goods to a local homeless shelter.
“More so than ever, the need is tremendous, and this year our house is just full. It's full of thousands of dollars' worth of things that are going to help so many people, " says Stephanie's husband, Rob.
“We’ve collected hygiene items, laundry, soaps, socks - lots of socks, lots of t-shirts, lots of towels."
"It starts around Thanksgiving, and that’s when I introduce the project, so we do all kinds of decimal activities so we learn how to multiply and divide so we learn unit pricing," she explained.
Normally, the students raise money and then have a field trip to Walmart to buy goods. This year, that didn’t happen because of the pandemic, but enthusiasm for the project was still high.
“They got creative with raking leaves, helping around the house. They couldn’t do a whole lot; I had a couple of kids who baked cookies, and their parents helped deliver them," she told us.
Doing what they could from home to raise money to buy the much-needed items.
“Hopefully it's something these kids will remember for a long time and hopefully pick up and continue to do for others in their lives.”
Just as Stephanie and her merry band of elves were set to deliver all the goods to the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center in Virginia Beach, we surprised her at her home with a People Taking Action award and a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.
Her principal, Amy Hedrick, couldn't be more proud.
“She’s been instrumental in helping understand the bigger picture, the world around us - not just the importance of consumer math, but the importance of helping others and having empathy for others," Hedrick said.
"I feel like I need to teach kids at a young age so they can carry it with them, and it actually has because several children have actually come back years later and said they remember that project and are using it to this day," says Wyman.
Lessons that go beyond the classroom and leave a lifelong impression.
To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.