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Day of Service project becomes class lesson in empathy

Day of Service project becomes class lesson in empathy
Day of Service project becomes class lesson in empathy 01:34

This is the 12th year that Xcel Energy has hosted Day of Service. The utility partners with nonprofit organizations across the Denver metro area to set up volunteer projects that last a few hours each. In 2010, when Day of Service started, it ran for about four hours on a Saturday morning. This year, it will run from September 8 – September 11 with projects in the mornings and afternoons.

4th grade students at St. Elizabeth's School participate in a Day of Service project.  CBS

The fourth graders at St. Elizabeth's School got a jump on this year's Day of Service fun. They worked on a project that turned into a lesson in empathy.

"We're decorating these bags for people who are getting delivered food like nutritious food because they have illnesses," said Eliana, a fourth grader at St. Elizabeth's School.

The decorated bag will go to Project Angel Heart. The nonprofit provides medically tailored meals to people who can't leave their homes due to severe illness. Volunteers deliver the meals in the brightly decorated bags. This is one of Xcel Energy's take home projects for Day of Service.

"I'm decided to put flowers and mountains on my bag because I feel like sometimes they can't even go outside, and I feel like it's great to see nature," Eliana told CBS News Colorado.

Part of the mission at St. Elizabeth's School is to incorporate community service into the classroom.

"I saw it this summer on CBS news, and I thought this will be a great opportunity for my students to volunteer," said Kira Hellyer, 4th Grade Teacher at St. Elizabeth's School.


The activity of decorating the bags helps re-enforce the lesson with which she engaged the students.

"We've learned about Project Angell Heart. We did a read aloud about people with severe illnesses, and how we can help them and show empathy," Hellyer said.

"It's got the mountains, and the clouds, and people camping with a fire," said Cash, of the first bag that decorated.

With every bag, these young artists are thinking about what it might be like to walk in someone else's shoes.

"If you have something like cancer or lung disease, it's scary. And cheering up can make you feel better," Cash explained.

LINK: Register for Xcel Energy's Day of Service

Xcel Energy set up 64 projects across Colorado, and some of them still need volunteers.

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