South Mountain First Graders Give Back with Service Learning Project

(L to R): front -Hugo Gurijala, Eloise Goldberg, Jordyn Gulliford, Shota Ozaki, Clytie Lin and Jack Ferrari. First Grade teachers from left to right: Natalie Giammarino, Katie Mattis and Karin Odell Credits: South Mountain School

MILLBURN, NJ - The first graders at South Mountain School learned a valuable lesson beyond reading, writing and arithmetic with a service-learning project to support Project Linus. The students created 12 blankets to donate with help from their teachers, the PTO who provided all the fabric and parent volunteers.

"The first-grade teachers at South Mountain are always thinking of ways to inspire kindness and give back to those around us." said teacher Karin Odell.  "Through creating the blankets and donating them to these children, we are hoping to instill in our students that happiness doesn't result in what we get, but from what we give." 

The first-grade teachers started the process by preparing the fabric at home so groups of four students and one parent could team up to tie all the knots to complete the blanket. Project Linus radiated with the first-grade teachers and students in that it helps young children; some are at the same age of the students.

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Although this specific service-learning project is particular new this year, it the teachers hopes to continue this project in years to come; Blankets are in demand.  "After making our 12 blankets, the woman from the project asked if we could make another 200!" Odell explained. 

Project Linus has a two-fold mission. First, provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” Second, provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children. More information on Project Linus is available at

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