Developing the whole student, heart and character included, is the blueprint for a National Heritage Academies (NHA) educational experience.
To support this belief, Matthews Charter Academy recently relaunched their Compass Club, in a virtual setting, which is an afterschool club that is centered around Moral Focus and open to all grades and parents who wish to participate. Each month, they provide goody bags, encouragement cards, or perform other service projects to meet the needs of their community.
“We will be putting our Moral Focus principles into action and will talk about how our monthly virtue ties into the non-profit organization that we are helping,” said Mary Funderburk, school ambassador at Matthews.
NHA believes that kindness and strong hearts and minds can impact the world in significant ways. Virtues like respect, compassion, and perseverance are essential for kids to succeed and are an essential part of what is taught.
The club aims to give direction to Moral Focus and set its sights on changing lives. For March and April, the Compass Club is partnering with Levine Children's Hospital. They are making goody bags filled with shampoo and conditioner which are items needed for children ages 16 and under who have come to Levine during the COVID-19 pandemic because of child abuse or self-harm. In April, they will be making cards and blessing bags for the children at Levine Cancer Center.
“At our meetings, a brief lesson is shared on how the monthly virtue applies to the particular project we are doing that month,” said Funderburk. “We also try to align projects that go alongside whatever that particular month’s virtue is.”
Once COVID-19 restrictions ease, the group will be doing projects for Brookdale Assisted Living, a leading operator of senior living communities throughout the United States, and Kindermourn, an organization that helps bereaved children who have lost a parent or parents who have lost a child.
“It is important for our scholars to not just learn about these virtues, but to put them into action because it helps them to see beyond themselves and realize the struggles that others are facing,” said Funderburk.