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KITES ‘Chair’-ities Unit Teaches Philanthropy

One chair is painted red, white and blue like a flag. Another chair has a stream flowing through it. And yet another chair is brightly covered with the words “Care for others.” These creative chairs came from the imaginations of Ozark Elementary KITES students, and they all represent different area charities. 

“I liked learning about how different charities could help different people and different things in different ways,” third-grader Kylie Martin said. “It was fun doing, and charities do make a difference.”

Students in Ozark School District’s gifted program called KITES, which stands for Kids in Talented Educational Studies, researched different charities as well as compared and analyzed where and how donations are used before choosing their charity. Students then refurbished chairs to auction off to benefit charities. The “Chair”-ities Unit is a unique and hands-on way to learn about philanthropy made possible with a $500 classroom grant from the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation. 

“They are learning about the impact charities have, how to research charities they would like to donate to, what impact they have on our local area or globally,” KITES teacher Erin Neal said. “Students are learning to work as a team on researching and creating a slideshow. They are also working on presentation skills and public speaking.”

Once groups chose a charity, they began brainstorming and sketching designs for their chair, as well as working on a persuasive presentation about their charity. 

“I like the fact that we get to explore different charities and what they do,” fifth-grader Skylar Perkins said.

After students gave their persuasive presentations, students voted to donate the proceeds of their chair auction to four charities — Make-a-Wish, the National Tiger Sanctuary, Rescue One and Convoy of Hope.

How much money will be donated, however, has yet to be determined. Students will show off their chairs to family and friends at the KITES Showcase, which was slated Jan. 18 but has been postponed. Bidding on the chairs will open following the showcase. 

“We’re really proud of the kids. They’ve learned so much through the process. They were really excited to become a philanthropist and understand what that word really means,” KITES teacher Junee Townsend said. 

Townsend and Neal would like to thank MRTF for the grant money, Lowe’s in Ozark and Republic for their generous discounts in project supplies, and Steven Schupbach with Clean Lines LLC for priming the chairs as well as adding the clear coats when the students were finished painting the chairs.

“It would not have been possible without their help,” Townsend said.

 Ozark KITES ‘Chair’-ities Unit Teaches Philanthropy