Mehlville’s Project ENGAGE to encourage, highlight service to others

To the editor:

I would like to inform the Mehlville community of our district’s upcoming effort to encourage and highlight service to others.

Project ENGAGE — Enriching Neighborhoods through Generous Actions, Growth and Empowerment — will focus on learning opportunities that allow us to give back and to help others in need.

Engaging in meaningful service projects can help further develop character and citizenship in our students. Each school in the Mehlville School District has a specific plan for kicking off Project ENGAGE on Friday, Jan. 14.

Our schools are all approaching this in their own unique way, but an enormous number of individual, small-group, classroom and even schoolwide projects have been identified. Some of the most powerful pieces may simply be the encouragement, modeling and reflecting we provide for those various individual acts of helping others in need.

Of course, we want our students to view this as our way of life but we will highlight their efforts until April 15, 2011.

Whether a student individually decides to shovel snow from his neighbor’s driveway or an entire classroom assembles care packages for local soldiers serving abroad, all students who “ENGAGE” will have the opportunity to share their experience at school and to receive a Project ENGAGE bracelet. If you are not fully aware of your school’s plans, please speak to your principal to find out more information or look for the Project ENGAGE button on the district’s website.

While this is entirely optional, our goal is to ENGAGE all of Mehlville’s 10,000-plus students in at least one effort to give back.

We are also encouraging staff, families and community members to participate.

This has the potential to be an extremely powerful experience for our school district and community. Thank you for your willingness to model, encourage and potentially provide opportunities for our students.

Eric D. Knost

Editor’s note: Eric D. Knost serves as deputy superintendent of the Mehlville School District and will become superintendent on July 1.