Students at River Grove Elementary School are donating art kits and canned food to local services.

The C-Pod at River Grove Elementary School was bustling Thursday, Oct. 21, as fourth grade students clustered over computer screens, decorated poster boards and filled plastic containers with art supplies — all while learning what it means to be empathetic to one another.

As part of a district-wide curriculum, October is dedicated to empathy and teaching students across Lake Oswego what it means to think of others without expecting anything back. Most classrooms have incorporated lessons into their curriculum or engaged in class discussions, but the fourth grade class at River Grove raised the bar by orchestrating two service projects.

"The school counselors have a monthly theme and empathy was October's, but our class took it a step further and wanted to do some service projects," said Kelly Hutchison, a fourth grade teacher at the school.

Three fourth grade classes will take part in donating art kits to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland while also partnering with Lake Oswego's Hunger Fighters to donate canned food to those in need.

Although the project is "teacher-driven," as the faculty decided on the charitable efforts, Hutchison said her students have taken the lead in brainstorming and forming committees that work towards marketing the projects.

The canned food drive will be held from Nov. 1-5, and the students spent the past week working on promotional posters and reciting speeches that they will give to other classrooms next week to let them know about the drive.

Other students made art kits full of various supplies like markers, stickers and paint sets. The students have also made their own coloring sheets to give to the children at Doernbecher.

Alongside empathy, students are learning how to work as a team, speak publicly and practice with software like Google Draw to illustrate their own designs for the art kits.

"It is a really cool, real world project for the students to work on," said Hutchison.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Two students display their poster advertising the food drive.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Fourth grade students pack one of the art kits full of supplies like crayons, and paint sets.

PMG PHOTOS: MIA RYDER-MARKS - The students were divided into committees that helped the fourth grade class advertise their upcoming food drive.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - A student makes a poster advertising the upcoming food drive.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - The students learned how to illustrate designs on Google Play. Their illustrations were then applied to the art kits for children at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - A student decorates a poster advertising the upcoming food drive.

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