KeLeigh Edwards, a runner-up in the 2014 Miss Alabama Pageant, shares how she has used the Alabama Civic Scorecard in her classroom.
KeLeigh Edwards teaches 4th grade at Lakewood Elementary School. Those who know her know how passionate she is about her work with young students. We asked KeLeigh to share how she adapted the Alabama Civic Scorecard for the school’s “Give Me 5!” program, designed to teach kids about the importance of community service and encourage them to volunteer.
“Statistics show that those who volunteer as young children are more likely to volunteer as adults. Knowing this truth, I hope to inspire others to recognize needs around them and work to address those needs.”
“My greatest desire as a teacher is to educate my students to be active and productive citizens in their community.”
“When I first saw the scorecard, I knew that I wanted to use the idea to encourage young children to volunteer. I love that the Alabama Civic Scorecard is such a simple concept, yet so effective,” Edwards explained. “I adapted the scorecard by changing the activities within the squares of the card, because I wanted the volunteer activities listed to be easily attainable for my students.”
“Volunteering allows one to communicate with people from all walks of life. It’s important to me that my students learn to respect themselves, their community, and those around them. They may not even realize that some of their classmates may be struggling. By educating my students, I feel that they reach a new sense of awareness. This awareness can lead to a change in thinking.”
“Volunteering allows students to learn cooperative skills that can be utilized in all areas of life. I want my students to have exposure to those who are different from them. I think this exposure [aids] in classroom cooperative learning practices as well. My students participate in a lot of group activities. They are having to learn how to work together to reach desired results.”
Not only does she see the benefits of community engagement for her fourth graders, Edwards herself is deeply touched when she witnesses her students’ newfound awareness of community needs and their sincere desire to serve.
“One of my former students practically lives at the ball field. When she isn’t playing, one of her siblings is. One day, she noticed that the concession stand was extremely messy and there were not enough workers to meet the needs of all the customers. She began to pick up trash around the stand and asked if she could help in other ways as well. I remember her telling me ‘Miss Edwards, now I help out whenever I can. It really is fun to be able to help!’”
We hope the Alabama Civic Scorecard can be a valuable resource for you. Do you have questions or ideas about how you can adapt the scorecard in your classroom? Do you have a civic education story to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interview conducted by Laura Vickery, Civic Fellow