December Character Foundations: Service

In December, St. Johns' innovative Character Foundations program turns its attention to service, which is defined as lending a hand to help someone else. Spartans of all ages will be learning about and putting service into action this month. Here are some ways you can reinforce these lessons at home:

Service means lending a hand to help someone else.

Parents, ask your student:

  • Has anyone ever helped you out when you were in need?
  • Think of a time when you noticed someone in your class or at your school needed something. It might have been school supplies, new shoes, or a snack for snack time. Did you see anyone show compassion toward that student? Maybe a teacher or other school staff member helped out with that need. Maybe next time it could be you.

Kids, ask a grown up:

  • How does it feel to provide for a need for someone else?
  • What are some opportunities to serve in your life right now? What are some ways you served others as a child?
  • Share some examples of service that you have experienced in your lifetime.

Each year local churches and other organizations engage in a project called Operation Christmas Child. This is where people pack shoeboxes filled with hygiene items, toys and school supplies to be sent all over the world to children in need. This is a great opportunity to share love and lend a hand to someone in need. Check out this video to find out more about this great project and its impact on children all over the world.

Take some time this month to evaluate the needs of people in your life. One night a week, sit down as a family and identify people at school, at work, at practice or even in your own home that have a need. Consider and discuss as a family what can be done about that need the following week and set out to do something about it.


Reading, either together or independently, is a great way to reinforce key learnings at home. Here are some books that can help with service. 

Lower School

Can I Help? by Marilyn Janovitz (Pre-K3-K)
The Christmas Barn by John and Jennifer Churchman (Pre-K3-Grade 1)
Albert the Fix-it Man by Janet Lord (Pre-K3-1)
Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato (Pre-K3-Grade 1)
The One Day House by Julia Durango (Grades K-3)
Diana’s White House Garden by Elisa Lynn Carbone (Grades K-5)
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner (Grades K-5)
Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kunz (Grades K-5)
The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale About the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree by David Rubel (Grades 1-5)
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes (Grades 1-5)
Blacksmith’s Song by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk (Grades 2-5)
The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen (Grades K-2)
How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham (Grades K-2)
Washday by Eve Bunting (Grades K-3)
A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch (Grades 1-5)
The Cat Man of Aleppo by Irene Latham (Grades 2-5)

Middle & Upper Schools

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith (Grades 6+)
Quaking by Kathryn Erskine (Grades 6+)
Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer (Grades 8+)
Nobody’s There by Joan Lowery Nixon (Grades 8+)
Peace Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle (Grades 8+)
Real Time by Pnina Kass (Grades 9+)
Thousand Words by Jennifer brown (Grades 9+)
Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian (Grades 9+)
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (Grades 9+)