A Little Holiday Cheer from the HSECP Students at Joppatowne Elementary

Hot Spot’s students at Joppatowne Elementary wrote holiday letters to Precinct 8’s first responders working on Christmas Day. Learn more about this heartwarming project, in the words of HSECP’s Joppatowne Program Director, Laura Sorrells, below.

This holiday season, our Hot Spots Extended Care Program (HSECP) Joppatowne students were writing holiday cards for friends and family, when they asked if there was someone else they could write a letter to as well—someone who would “need” or want one more. Our educators suggested that veterans, teachers, firefighters, police or troops fighting overseas may need extra holiday cheer this season, and the students unanimously chose first responders, specifically police and firefighters.

It is very important that we share with our students the kindness and compassion behind the work of our first responders, and have discussions with them about how they help us and how we can help them by showing kindness and appreciation for all the challenging work they do. In our discussions, our students enjoyed hearing my personal stories about how my sister’s precinct helps people, animals and the community at large. Our students also were surprised to learn that some people don’t get a day off–even Christmas Day—because their jobs are so important that they must be there at work in case we need them.

Our students chose to deliver their handmade letters and cards to Precinct 8 in Parkville and the fire department next door. They then created holiday cards telling the officers a little bit about themselves, such as their name, age and what hobbies and activities they enjoy, as well as included a little thank you note and a drawing. As with any project children create, the results were sweet, comical, and heartwarming, but most of all genuine. We just gave our students the general prompt, and let them write what they felt they wanted to share and say.

My sister delivered the letters, along with some candy canes, on Christmas Eve to the officers who were working, and they dove right in. There were plenty of smiles and laughs to be had, and everyone working at Precinct 8, as well as the firehouse, had heartfelt appreciation for our students throughout the day and into the next.

The simple act of sending kind thoughts and words to strangers can have a powerful effect, as shown by the phenomenal community outreach performed by our students through HSECP Joppatowne. As educators, we were excited to be a part of it, and want to continue to foster a sense of community and kindness in our students through the Hot Spots Extended Care Program.

To learn more about Hot Spots, visit their website here.