When Molly Futterman’s kindergarten class at the Strelitz International Academy kicked off their IB unit with a focus on goal setting this past January, her friends had wonderful goals for themselves. Goals included scoring more soccer goals, learning to ride a bike with no training wheels, and swinging across the monkey bars—both ways. Molly immediately knew she wanted her goal to be one where she could help people.
Molly’s kindergarten teacher, Jamie Baker, explained that in order to attain their goals, students would create an outline of the steps to reach their individualized goal. She coached Molly to ask herself, “Who could I help? What kinds of things do people need when they are sick?” Molly realized that she could start with helping her friends at school.
Before the pandemic, Molly and her mom, Dr. Ilene Goldstein, helped out with the Beach Bag Program, and Molly enjoyed packing the Beach Bags with snacks for children in need. She decided that her goal would be to create “Feel Better Bags” to help students at SIA when they get sick and need to go home from school.
The next step was to earn money to buy the items for the bags. Molly tried a lemonade stand, but it was February, so she was only able to raise $2. When that didn’t work, she decided to get sponsors for running the Shamrock Final Mile. Molly raised $56, which went toward buying items she needed for the bags. Fortunately, she already had some of the supplies around her house to create the bags. Each bag contained a feel better note, Band-Aids, water, a fidget toy, hand wipes, tissues, crayons, and a small notebook.
“Molly is so proud of her accomplishment!” says Goldstein. “Mrs. Baker did such a great job teaching her students to create steps to attain a manageable goal. Molly is talking about making bags for the homeless next.”
Molly was excited to deliver her Feel Better Bags to the school clinic, but she realized that she was faced with a dilemma. She wanted each of her classmates to get a bag, but in order to get one, they’d have to get sick. Molly’s bags were so impressive that all the kids in the class hoped that they could get sick so that they could get one. Fortunately, Molly’s classmates were able to participate by making a rice sock to keep when their bodies hurt.
Molly’s Feel Better Bags resulted in a wonderful addition to her class and entire school community. At the Strelitz International Academy, the merging of Jewish values and student agency and design are highlighted with the IB World School approach to learning, making it a school where students are inspired to learn and make the world a better place.