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Jefferson Awards: Purdue student is creating action through service

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Posted at 11:06 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 23:06:20-05

The Jefferson Awards is now Multiplying Good and we could use a little good in our lives. While there is a new name, the essence of the service doesn't change. RTV6 is still recognizing unsung heroes through the "Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good."

WEST LAFAYETTE — A freshman at Purdue is providing a lesson for teachers, guiding them to promote service learning in their classrooms. Claire Schnefke's is February's Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good winner.

"Here today we are doing a professional development day on service learning so these teachers will leave here today hopefully with written plans with what they are going to do in their classroom and different service projects to have their students lead," Claire Schnefke said.

Schnefke hosts professional development days for teachers looking to implement new skills int heir classrooms. It is through her organization, CATS, which stands for "Creating Action through Service." She created CATS from the lessons she learned as a part of Students in Action at Fishers High School.

"I was able to grow through leading different projects and such," Schnefke said. "So then I thought wat if I had started doing service projects when I was in first grade or kindergarten and that is sort of where the idea for CATS came from."

With the help of other clubs and a professor at Purdue, plus one of Schnefke's former high school teachers, she is able to reach local educators, like Hershey Elementary School fourth and fifth grade teacher, Stephanie Rambo.

"The really enticing part was that they had a grant to pay for the sub so it didn't cost my school anything for me to go," Rambo said.

Through this professional development day, Schnefke shows teachers different ways to get their students involved in community service by connecting them to other organizations, teachers and classrooms.

"I think a lot of times as a teacher and an adult, I bring the ideas to the table," Rambo said. "They have given some avenues through literature and different discussion topics that I can kind of pull out things that they are interested in. I think this next generation of students is a very powerful generation that can do a lot of good change in our world, and our world needs goodness right now."

It is a chance to create a powerful future for the community and to teach kids a lesson about giving back.

"I think it is really important that kids at a young age realize that they can make an impact in the world and they can make a difference so as they grow older they realize that their actions have such a huge impact on other people's lives and it is really not that hard to fix a lot of these issues if they work together," Schnefke said.

CATS also provides teachers online tools to keep classes informed.

Click here to learn more about CATS and how to get involved click here.

Nominate someone you know who's making a difference.

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