Allison Evans, a fifth grade teacher at RM Moore Middle School in Cherokee County, Ga., wanted her students to develop lifelong skills that will continue to be used, and came up with an innovative program with the help of American Legion Post 45 Post Service Officer Jim Lindenmayer. The focus of Evans' life skills program was around writing. Writing is a part of our lives. Students will always be required to write, whether it be in school, letters, emails, resumes, etc. The Georgia Standards of Excellence require fifth grade students to conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. Since many of the students have weak writing skills, she developed a writing project which combined research with writing and that would positively engage the students by giving them a purpose for their writing while connecting them to their community. As part of a grant from Amicolola EMC, she connected her students to a local veteran through the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program run out of American Legion Post 45 in Canton, Ga. Evans' students contacted the veteran, who participated in the program electronically numerous times to create a relationship. Students were required to research past military service's time periods, create interview questions, and ultimately write an informational paper based on the relevant information collected from the veterans who participated. As a culminating activity, the students met personally with the veterans to share their project.
PSO Lindenmayer personally met with the class on the last day of school to discuss the project and to thank the students for not only creating a form of living history of the veterans who participated, but to see how this program has helped reach the goals set by Evans for the program. Veterans who took part of this program came from Post 45 and represented eras from Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq/Afghanistan.