Read. Run. Reach. Reaches Troops Overseas
Staff members at St. John’s Lutheran School in Berlin were looking for ways the students could perform a random act of kindness for the CHN sponsored Read. Run. Reach. program. The wellness campaign focuses on reading, physical activity and being kind in actions. School officials wanted to lead by example and teach students valuable lessons about kindness and giving to others. Candy Schram, a teacher at St. John’s, happened to be attending an exercise class led by CHN Wellness Coordinator Pam Alf, when a conversation they were having sparked a great idea. Alf’s son in law, a Staff Sargent in the United States Air Force, was recently sent to Afghanistan for a seven month deployment. Alf was describing to Schram the hardships of being deployed, such as being separated from family, sleeping in tents, long work hours and lack of the comforts of home. Schram started to think of ways she could get the kids involved to help support these troops and let them know that they are being thought of and prayed for. As a result, she had her students, who were starting a letter writing lesson plan that week, reach out to these Airmen through Easter cards and heartfelt letters letting the Airman know that they cared about them and that they were appreciated. Alf stated, “The encouraging letters these students wrote brought tears to my eyes. The genuine concern and gratitude shown to these Airmen through the words of these children was inspiring, and certainly a wonderful random act of kindness.”
Mrs. Schram felt that her class could do more and thought it would be nice to send the Airmen care packages. She decided to contact Farmers & Merchants Bank of Berlin to ask for funds through the Kindness Project, an extension of the CHN Read. Run. Reach. program to help provide financial assistance to mail the care packages. Once given approval, she had Alf contact her son in law to get a list of some much wanted items such as beef jerky, magazines, candy, protein powder, and sunflower seeds. Schram then put a request in the school newsletter for families, congregation members and staff to donate items for the Airmen in Afghanistan. The orchestrated group effort all came together and St. John’s School was able to send 5 boxes of goodies half way across the world to a very remote base in Afghanistan to some very appreciative Airmen. The impact of these kind acts from the small town of Berlin is now being felt around the world.
Photo Caption: Students, staff and families from St. John’s Lutheran School in Berlin, “Reached Out” to troops in Afghanistan as part of the CHN Read. Run. Reach. program and Farmers & Merchants Kindness Project.