– by Amy Maturin [Character development is integral to Unity Charter School’s mission. Helping others – community service – is written into Unity’s charter. Read how one teacher’s lesson plan provided a valuable lesson in community service to her students. -Ed] I don’t think we need to be reminded of the devastation Hurricane Sandy left in Morris County and all over the tri-state area. At Unity Charter School, we were fortunate to only lose power, but some schools and families lost everything and are still unsure when they will be able to return to their homes and buildings. In connection with our discussions about GoodWork, stemming from my work with the GoodWork Toolkit out of Project Zero and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and our exploration of our understanding of ethical behavior taking steps to positively affect the world around us, the 1/2 Leatherback Sea Turtles had been originally planning a Read-a-Thon to benefit students around the world who are lacking in resources and materials. After experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, we decided to shift the focus of the Read-a-Thon to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Back in November, we celebrated reading as a community to benefit the students and families of Frog Pond Elementary School in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey. I am happy to report that the Leatherback Sea Turtle 1/2 learning group was able to raise $2,714.06 and as a school, we read for a total of 11,161 minutes (that is 7.75 days!). The Leatherback Sea Turtles are truly appreciative of the generosity of our commUnity and feel lucky to be a part of it! This was a win-win situation for our children, the teachers and our New Jersey community as a whole! Amy Maturin is in her 6th year of teaching. She previously taught 4th grade, and is now delighted to be in her 3rd year at Unity Charter School and teaching the 1st and 2nd grade multiage class. Amy graduated from Kean University with her B.A. in Early Childhood Elementary in 2007. She is working toward a graduate degree at Teachers College of Columbia University. When not teaching or taking classes, Amy enjoys running and reading. She lives in Bedminster, NJ with her husband, Dan, and cat named Felix.