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Students in Los Cerritos Elementary Roots & Shoots viewed a video of the work that UNICEF does to help children around the world. They then took their orange containers with them trick or treating or collected donations in any way that they could (parents work places, Halloween parties, etc.). We counted the money at the next Roots & Shoots meeting and were able to donate $327.50 to UNICEF.
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Once a month our Roots & Shoots-Homeschooled Naturally group goes to the local Pets and People organization and walks dogs. Pets and People is an organization that saves cats and dogs on the day they are to be killed and keeps them until they are adopted. Needless to say there are many, many animals at their facility. Our kids love to go and walk, pet, and love the dogs.
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Kids in our group went door to door before Halloween asking for old prescription glasses. We also had a collection box in the office of our school. Once collected the glasses were give to LensCrafters where they will be cleaned, repaired and sent to developing countries.
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This October the kids in our group made pink pins to sell for breast cancer awareness. Some of the boys in our group weren't excited about wearing pink. Then they came up with the slogan, "Are you tough enough to wear pink?" It created a lot of discussion among the male members of our school! We have had several families in our school affected with breast cancer. The kids sold the pins after school for 25 cents each. We donated the money to Sense of Security, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to low-income women (and their families) who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
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Between the months of March and May the kids worked on quilts for Project Linus. Each child designed and completed a one-of-a-kind original quilt. All the quilts were donated to Project Linus and given to Parker Children's Hospital. Most of the materials for the quilts were donated by families and staff at our school. We also received scrap fabric from Hancock Fabrics. We only had to purchase fabric backs for two quilts at a cost of about $6! This was a wonderful project for the kids. Many of them had never sewn before. They loved designing their own quilt, using fabrics they liked and then finishing them for children who are hospitalized. While we were working on our quilts one of our team members was hospitalized for a serious infection. It gave all of our members some perspective on how scary it can be to be in the hospital.
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We invited students from a local private school, Viewpoint, to help us at the California Wildlife Center. We asked a carpenter to precut wood for a hummingbird enclosure so that when the students arrived at the center, all they had to do was to put the enclosure together. They did a great job with almost no supervision. Other students stained a fence, planted and removed weeds. They were also able to watch a video about how the center rescues and rehabilitates injured wildlife. They were given a tour of the facilities, including the hospital. There were many animals being taken care of including a red-tailed hawk, a duck, and a coyote.
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Members organized an event to break down the walls that divide our school and mix things up at lunch. We want everyone to feel included at our school and group boundaries are most obvious in school lunchrooms. Roots & Shoots members prepared a nametag for everyone in the school with one of the letters from the phrase "Mix It Up" on each nametag. Students were encouraged to sit somewhere new at lunch by finding a table with the name of the month they were born in on it. Then they could win something from the prize table for spelling out the phrase "Mix It Up" with their new friends at their table. We hope that everyone stepped outside of their comfort zones to make one new friend at Mix It Up At Lunch.
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We went to two restaurants and filled out forms for GotMercury.Org. They are doing a survey to find out which restaurants have posted their Prop. 65 mercury in seafood warning sign. The signs warn pregnant women and children to avoid certain seafoods that have high levels of mercury. The signs are designed to protect babies and kids from high levels of mercury because it can damage their brains. It also serves to alert people to pollution in our oceans.
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Roots & Shoots students,some dressed in Halloween costumes, walked to a local senior citizen's home and visited with residents. We sang several Halloween songs and shared our Halloween candy. We also brought one student's pet dog to visit with the seniors!
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Over 70 people turned out for a Back to School Roots & Shoots Family Potluck on September 15. Food was varied and abundant including salads, main dishes and desserts. In the interests of helping to reduce waste, participants were asked to bring their own eating utensils. Other items were provided such as plates, napkins, and drinking cups and all were fully compostable. Table decorations included arrangements made from flowers and herbs picked from the school garden and placemats colored by the guests while seated at the tables. Families spent over 2 hours socializing and reconnecting and many remarked that we should do this every year because it was so much fun!

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