A Magical Moment :: Elena Messina

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With only a little over a month left of my co-op at Change is Simple I decided to reflect on my time here. I started my co-op over the summer, so I got to see a different side of the organization. Change is Simple’s expertise is in the classroom, but the programs over the summer were a blast and a great way to get to know how fun my co-op would be. The summer programs are less structured than the classroom and both the kids and the staff have a blast.  

Some days were hard to even call “work”. I was able to help guide a few of the Summer Adventures that Change is Simple hosts once a week. On one adventure, we went snorkeling at Independance Beach, so I got to spend my morning at the beach, swimming with kids and exploring all the different nooks and crannies around the jetty. The kids were having a great time seeing how many sand crabs they could capture before they started escaping. Another day we went hiking around Norwood Pond. We got to see the beautiful pond and we even saw a swan in the lake. We also hiked to see the Beverly water tower, and talked about how the water is distributed and why it is located on a hill.  I got to see first hand how the Summer Adventures get kids excited about being outside and enjoying nature, and it got me even more excited to be outside with them.

The highlight of my summer at Change is Simple was definitely Camp Paradise, a weeklong adventure.  I got to do so many fun activities with the kids, and I really got to connect with them over the course of the week compared to just an hour or two we normally get with students. During the week we helped the kids cook and easy snacks, made purposeful sustainable crafts like reusable snack-taxis , and spent majority of our time outdoors exploring and playing games. My favorite activity was easily the fort building. The kids really got into it and every day started with them asking if they could go work on their forts. Fort building isn’t only fun, but it got them moving around, encouraged teamwork, enhanced creativity and also facilitated problem solving!  Throughout the week at Camp Paradise I got to see how excited the kids were to be there and especially to be with Change is Simple.

Compared to summer fun with CiS, my first time teaching in the school was a truly enlightening experience. I was lucky enough to see 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in action on that first day. I started off in 5th grade helping to teach Community Water Systems and Conservation. Seeing the kids’ faces light up as I walked into a classroom wearing my Change is Simple shirt showed me how happy the students are to have a Change is Simple workshop. After switching over to third grade and observing them in Human Impact on Animals lesson, I was amazed at the difference in the way students learn and interact even only being two years apart.

After returning from a quick break to eat lunch and refuel before teaching more, we were stopped outside the door as the students lined up coming back in from recess. When the kids saw us standing outside they started to get excited and enthusiastic and before we knew it, over 40 kids were chanting Change is Simple all in unison. I felt like a celebrity. The kids were so excited to just see us they could not contain themselves. It was a magical moment to say the least. This moment and even just they way students reacted when we walked into their classroom showed me how much these students really do love Change is Simple and want us in their schools.

Over the past five months I have seen how Change is Simple gets kids excited about learning in general, but also about learning topics they wouldn’t normally learn about. All of my teaching days have been exciting, fun, and no two days the same, but I will never forget that first day when we were cheered into the building.

What I have learned...

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My name is Isabella Scannell and I am currently a senior at Endicott College studying Hospitality Management. I grew up in Melrose, MA and I went to Catholic School my entire life. I started to work in the service industry in high school and I really enjoyed it. I originally applied for Endicott’s nursing program but when those plans did not pan out, I changed my focus from helping people with their physical health to helping people have a memorable experience and enjoy themselves. I always enjoyed planning fun activities and was able to gain experience doing so when I started in the New England Aquarium event department. I loved getting to plan events for a single organization, especially ones with a great cause, and hope to one day being doing something with another company, like New England Aquarium or Change is Simple.

After first hearing about Change is Simple in April of 2017 while looking for my internship, I was inspired by their approach of educating students and sustainability and the environment.

When I began my internship in September, I jumped right into working on the Annual Fashion of Change Fundraiser that was planned for the end of the month. The fundraiser, which happens annually, is a cocktail party that provides guests with a highlight of the program's successes and revisits why what they do is critical.

The money raised at this event goes directly to supporting the children, classrooms and schools, who receive Change is Simple programming. Change is Simple is able to educate over 6,000 kids annually with the support of this event.

My time so far at Change is Simple has showed me how much help our world needs, how we are all responsible for creating that change and what actions I can do to work towards those changes.

During my time here, I have mainly been working with Lauren who is one of the organization's co-directors. I have helped work on present and future events for Change is Simple, among a variety of other event and fundraising related projects. We have some really cool ideas coming up for spring events so stay tuned!

My internship here hasn’t just been about event planning, I have also been able to visit a couple classrooms during CiS workshops. Once I was actually in the classroom, I got to see just how hands on lessons are and how excited kids get about Change is Simple! Seeing CiS in action, compared to planning events behind the scenes really helped me understand how dynamic the organization is.

I hope that even after I complete my internship at Change is Simple, I can continue to change things in my everyday life to benefit the planet, just how the children they teach are continuously making changes.

I have really enjoyed the time that I have spent here at Change is Simple. I have learned so much from Change is Simple and from the people who work there. I love the fun atmosphere that I have worked in, I have learned a lot about my impact and what I can do to change. Before working here, I had worked at nonprofits before but I never knew the time and effort it took to really make a non profit work.

My perspective on the world has changed forever. Through the Change is Simple lessons I have learned to save water by taking shorter showers, use reusable bags instead of plastic, compost whatever you can, how much energy certain things use and how to help conserve it, and even how we can help raise awareness for certain endangered animals.  

And I can’t wait to come back and help out!  

Simply Summer

Simply Summer

As a mom of 3 boys I will tell you, there is (whether we admit it or not) a big sigh of collective relief from (I am guessing) all moms of school-aged children when the beginning of the school year rolls around. Back to a routine, a bit more structure, back to fall sports and frankly dropping the little angels off for a good 6 hours of the day with their amazing teachers. Having said that, summer is this incredible gift - a time when we get to enjoy the outdoors, take more time, soak up the weather, and change things up; there are always some stellar moments that really stand out about what can, at the time seem like an endless summer vacation. For my kids this was the time spent with the most energetic, and creative group of adults around, the team at Change is Simple.