Heroes, Literacy and Service-Learning
Voices of Hope is a unique two-part curriculum that includes an anthology of heroes' stories that inspire kids, and a service-learning guide that shows kids how to be heroic themselves by getting engaged in solving civic problems, creating and carrying out projects that benefit their communities. And it's all set up to be used as part of standard curricula. Since every school has to teach reading, and Voices of Hope seamlessly joins literacy and service-learning—we think we're onto something here.
“Voices of Hope is the best literacy resource I’ve come across in the last five years. The stories stay with you—they are touchstones of courage and caring. …The extraordinary Service-Learning Guide is a gem in itself, as a guide to coaching service-learning projects. …[It’s] the best such handbook I’ve ever seen. —Ronald Gross, Chair, Columbia University Seminar on Innovation.
The Voices of Hope Anthology of Heroes' Stories
Giraffe Heroes Project files are bulging with stories of "Giraffe Heroes"— people from an array of ages, locations and backgrounds who are plunging into every imaginable problem and getting positive results. Their lives are models for positive action and enormous sources of hope.
We've put forty of these stories into Voices of Hope, a unique middle/high school anthology that builds reading skills while it encourages kids to be active citizens in their communities. We know from many years' experience in classrooms how well the inspiring and exciting stories of Giraffe Heroes grab kids' attention—even kids who don't like to read. Used as a supplementary reader, Voices of Hope is an integral part of our language arts programs—and a welcome addition to standard reading texts, many of which are notoriously dull.
Voices of Hope is much more than an anthology of stories and instruction in vocabulary, sentence structure and comprehension. Voices of Hope tells kids that individuals can impact their world for the better, and that they themselves can do that too.
“Interest in reading greatly improved. Students were reading for a purpose. The stories also really gave kids something to think about, especially those who previously had felt unable to make a difference. As teachers we felt empowered by the stories that raised such awareness in our students.”—Carol McCaig and Cathy Malloy, Juanita Elementary School, Kirkland WA
"I was very impressed with my students’ responses to Voices of Hope stories. The students really enjoyed hearing about adult problems and solutions in these stories… They also showed increased vocabulary skills and a much higher comprehension level than I would have expected… In terms of attitudes, I noticed an increase of determination, persistence, courage and self-sacrifice.”—Sarah Lucas, teacher, Seattle Hill Elementary School, Everett WA
“Voices of Hope provided our children with a new awareness of what a real hero is. Before reading the stories, the “heroes" they identified were athletes, actors and parents. After reading the stories, they identified people in their community, with the heroic quality being helping others… In terms of reading comprehension, Voices of Hope helped students reinforce use of context and clues.”—Ava Goldstein, teacher, Raynham Middle School, Raynham MA
The Voices of Hope Service-Learning Guide
Giraffe Heroes' stories inspire many kids to move from "Why bother?" to "How can I make a difference?" The Service Learning Guide provides a step-by-step process for moving from thinking about the public problems, to successfully completing service projects that address those concerns. As they take on projects, kids not only learn and practice 3-R skills, they also learn the skills of civic engagement—to plan, work in teams, fundraise, resolve conflicts, speak in public, make good decisions and take responsibility.
Guiding kids into courageous, caring service can change their attitudes—and their lives. It's easy for teachers, youth leaders and parents to use, containing easy-to-use lesson plans and skills-building materials.
"Students are beginning to learn that perseverance is required for real life—they want to keep their service projects going. They demonstrated caring and taking responsibility. As teachers we felt empowered by the stories that raised such awareness in our students.”—Carol McCaig and Cathy Malloy, Juanita Elementary School, Kirkland WA
“Voices of Hope stories give students power and a realization they can make a difference; after reading them, students were inspired to take a more active part in what is going on in the world. Students were taking personal responsibility and solving problems; we had double or triple the number of students running for Student Council this year than last... Voices of Hope has enriched student service programs, which now include a “Bully-Free program, fundraising for local charities and for tsunami relief and keeping the schoolyard clean from messes made by seagulls.”—Barbara Conti, teacher, St. Stephan School, San Francisco CA
"Voices of Hopeis a powerful program that provides everyday models for making a difference in communities across America and beyond… Voices of Hope supports young people having greater life choices in their future and in contributing to a more hopeful future for us all." —Dr. Martin Laster, former Alaska School Superintendent of the Year
Voices of Hope