Operation Education Program
Honor Flight Chicago is proud to launch a new education outreach program in the Chicago area. We are working to develop avenues for students to take action on veteran’s issues and create opportunities for students to get involved with honoring our veterans.
In our first year of education outreach, we have two goals:
- We would like to discuss and develop lesson plans for each grade band (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) to be used in classrooms and by school-sponsored clubs to give students background knowledge on World War II and the Korean War. We also want to encourage them to research and take action to honor veterans, such as helping write letters for Veteran’s Day.
- We would like to recruit enough schools and students to write a total of 7,000 letters to veterans thanking them for their service. This number represents one letter for every veteran Honor Flight Chicago has honored to date. The letters will become part of our Mail Call given to veterans in the 2018 flight season.
The time for this program has never been better. In the past, with content standards to cover, some educators found it difficult to justify allowing time in the busy school year for students to research and take action on issues they cared about. However, there is a new opportunity to have students get actively involved in honoring veterans with the adoption of the new C3 Social Studies Framework specifying that students understand issues, communicate conclusions and take informed action.
What better way to satisfy this requirement than to get students involved with Honor Flight Chicago? Join us to plan this exciting opportunity.
Case study: Hadley Junior High School
Students at Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn, Ill., had the opportunity to meet and interview veterans from World War II and the Korean War. Students wrote narratives about the veterans afterward, then were charged with coming up with solutions to the problem of how to best help Honor Flight Chicago honor veterans.
After the students designed their solutions, they presented to an expert panel of veterans and Honor Flight Chicago volunteers. The panel heard the students ideas, asked questions and gave the students feedback on their solutions.
Students came up with a variety of ideas, including:
- Write letters for mail call
- Record podcasts and videos to tell veteran impact stories
- Design a coffee cup with the Honor Flight Chicago logo and a QR code to link people to the HFC website for donations
- Visit senior homes in the area to share information about HFC with eligible veterans
- Design an Honor Flight Chicago App idea to pitch to the Verizon App Challenge competition
- Distribute HFC bookmarks at the local library, bookstore or elsewhere in the community to inform the public about the organization and encourage donations
Many of these ideas went on to be implemented by students and teachers.
We heard repeatedly from many students that they knew veterans were important, but that their awareness of the importance of veterans was permanently elevated and changed by this experience. As educators, we were happy that students collaborated, created solutions, thought critically and communicated ideas in the process.
“Hearing how many die in battle really made me think of how selfless, loving and brave the soldiers are.”
“(The veterans) taught me to stay humble and never boast about what you’ve accomplished.”