Classrooms that Care is a service-learning program that teaches students about NF through educational activities and programming designed to fit into school curriculum standards. Classrooms that Care helps schools raise awareness about NF while building empathy for those facing health challenges and empowering students to celebrate diversity and embrace inclusion in their communities.
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Benefits for Students:
- Now more than ever, students need empathy to address differences and ultimately celebrate contributions to the common good
- Classrooms That Care utilizes Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) concepts to present information about a unique medical condition, Neurofibromatosis (NF). This presentation may also facilitate interest in other diseases that students may already be impacted by.
- Skills learned through this program help students feel empowered and are transferable to other educational platforms.
- Specific SEL growth objectives could include, but are not be limited to:
- understanding the importance of non-prejudicial attitudes,
- increasing sensitivity to individual preferences and differences of others,
- learning methods to express understanding and support, and
- gaining a deeper understanding that differences amongst people make life rich and interesting, and that those differences are to be valued.
Benefits for Teachers:
- Activities provide freedom to differentiate to individual student needs.
- Content is adjusted for different age levels
- Materials can be taught over various lengths of time
Content addressed meets some specific state educational standards.
NF parent Stacey DeCillis brought Classrooms that Care into her children’s schools. We spoke with Stacey about her experience and the impact it had on her family and community:
"We were motivated to participate in Classrooms that Care by a number of things, but first by the opportunity to raise additional funds for NF research in a way that got the kids involved. Our NF Hero Jackson is now 8 years old, and wants to actively participate in the fundraising efforts of the family. This program allowed him and his siblings, Madison (age 10) and Alexa (age 5), to also participate. In addition, some of Jackson’s classmates had been asking him about his café au lait spots, asking why his back was “dirty.” I realized that the best way for me to help him with his peers (in addition to our continuing work on high self esteem) is to teach his classmates about NF and show them what Jackson and other NF Heroes deal with on a daily basis.
"The program includes both awareness and fundraising, so it educates kids about NF while also giving kids the opportunity to make a “change” through a change drive. Students get to experience some of the direct manifestations that Jackson faces, such as low muscle tone, during an “NF Experience” assembly, which brings empathy and understanding. Students then become active participants by reaching out to their parents and community, to explain NF."
"This program was extremely easy to implement. [There are] prepared materials and even an interactive presentation to explain NF and some of the symptoms ... the students in both schools learned empathy not only for kids with NF, but for all students who may be facing challenges on a daily basis, or who may look or be different."