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Button Gwinnett lives to give
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Button Gwinnett Elementary School students display some of the goods collected over the past couple of weeks. - photo by Lainey Standiford

Food, blankets and toys lined the classrooms and halls of Button Gwinnett Elementary. The students have participated in three different “Live to Give” projects this year, according to BGE’s principal Delores Crawford.

Live to Give is one of seven mindsets from the book The 7 Mindsets to Live Your Ultimate Life, by Scott Shickler and Jeff Waller. BGE is in their second year of implementing the 7 Mindsets Social Emotional Learning program, Crawford said.

“The Live to Give mindset teaches our students that they will get more fulfillment out of life when they give their best selves unselfishly,” she said. “When you give, you get so much in return.”

Last year’s biggest Live to Give project was the collection of over 3,000 items to donate to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief efforts, Crawford continued. The students also gave books and pajamas to needy students at Christmas time.

This year’s Live to Give event encompassed three different projects, including an Angel Tree, a non-perishable and canned food drive, and a blanket drive by a local non-profit and student.

This year’s Angel Tree contained 70 angels of in-need students at BGE, Crawford said. The staff members and parents pulled every angel off the tree, and gifts have been pouring in since, she continued.

“We looked at our student population need-wise, and pulled a lot from those students currently enrolled in the Backpack Buddies program,” Crawford said. 

BGE school counselor Frednell Walthour spearheaded the non-perishable and canned food drive.

“We made it a bit of a competition,” Walthour said. “So many responded and we’ve collected four tables worth of goods.”

The drive, which spurred competition among students and teachers alike, included a first, second and third place prize for those who collected the most.

The first place winner was second grade teacher Rebeque de Fontes, Walthour said. The prize is a pizza party, funded by Principal Crawford.

Second place was first grade teacher Tania Groover, and third place was third grade teacher Zuleika Black. 

“Our students are beginning to learn that they get a sense of self-fulfillment, happiness and joy by making a positive impact in our community, simply by giving,” Crawford said. 

“We identified three groups that needed our donations the most, and the canned food and non-perishables are going to go to the Gabriel’s House, an abused women’s shelter in Hinesville, and the rest will be given to the senior citizens center,” Walthour said.

BGE’s blanket drive was a student driven project, Crawford added. One of the Kindergarten students, Kaden Chavis, is a survivor of shaken baby syndrome, and his family established the non-profit With Love From Kaden in his name. Each year, the non-profit raises blankets, soft toys and other comfort items to distribute to kids in hospitals, Crawford said. This year’s blanket donations will go to Liberty Regional, Wayne Memorial in Jesup and a hospital in Savannah.

“Students, their parents, and staff have gotten so much joy out of giving from their hearts this school year,” Crawford said.

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