Patriot/C.A.R.E Project


Learn how one classroom decided to “adopt” a reserve unit of the US military; thanking them for their strength and bravery and providing encouragement for them as they were so far from home.


After the events of September 11th, our class felt inclined to help out in any way we could. The tragedy really hit home when a fellow teacher, and friend, saw her husband get called up for duty. Our student council decided to “adopt” this particular reserve unit. This became our C.A.R.E. (Coins Assisting Reservists Everyday) Project. We sent disposable cameras to them so they could return pictures to us to be displayed on a large bulletin board I decorated as an American flag. During the holidays we collected money to purchase gift certificates to a local toy store for the families of the men and women in this unit. Many of them are self-employed and would not have the extra income to help buy Christmas gifts for their families. The coin collection jugs around the school weren’t filling up much, so that’s when this project idea came about.

The entire fifth grade joined together for this project. We took orders to sell patriotic pins for $1 each. All the money would go towards the C.A.R.E. project. I bought the supplies needed using previously collected and saved funds. The student body was given order forms. The fifth graders made pins in the shapes of American flags and hearts during free time and indoor recess. The money was collected and counted by the PTO.

Altogether, between money from the pins and donations from the community, over $800 was raised to buy gift certificates for the active military families. Also, a local store donated phone cards for the reservists to call home over the holidays. When we pulled our resources together, we were able to show these people how much we cared and to bring them closer when serving our country during uncertain times.

Reporters from two local newspapers came to the school to interview staff and students about the C.A.R.E. project. The students were so proud and learned a great deal about citizenship.

Grade Level:

5th grade

Scope of Activity:

Classroom and school-wide activity initiated by the 5th grade. Involves the community as well.

Expected Time Frame:

4 weeks: 3 weeks for making and delivering pins, 1 week for writing a reflection essay.

Materials Needed:

Craft foam in the colors of red, white and blue pre-cut into needed shapes described below.
Tacky glue
White puffy paint
1 inch metal pins
Hot glue
Hot glue gun (adult use only)


Discuss with the students the need to raise the money for these families. Show them an example of the pins to be made. Give them direction that follow:

Procedure: (for assembly of the heart pin:)

1. Wash your hands before you begin working.
2. Glue the blue section of the heart onto the top of the precut white heart.
3. Glue the red stripes evenly down the center of the heart. You should have fine in all.
4. Allow all glue to dry.
5. Trim all stripes to be even with the white heart.
6. Clean up trimmings.
7. Students with special permission will put one star on each “hump” of the heart using white puffy paint.
8. After drying, the teacher will use a hot glue gun to attach the pin onto the back.
9. When pins dry, they are to be placed into a baggy, sealed and the order form is . attached.
10. Deliver the pins to the students’ homerooms.

Expected Outcome:

The students will neatly assemble patriotic pins using craft supplies by following directions.
The students will gain a sense of pride by helping others and in their finished product.
They will then write an essay explaining why we made these pins, how we made the pins and how they felt about doing this project.

Writing Reflection:

Have the students write an essay describing and reflecting on the project’s purpose and importance. Did they learn anything new through this project?

Sample Student Writing Response:

The fifth Grade made a lot of flag pins here at ________ Elementary School. We made them to honor the people who are in the Reserves.

We did it for the little boys and girls out there with parents in the Reserve Unit in Michigan. The poor kids with no moms or dads home for Christmas must be very upset about not having a parent home for the holidays. It is called C.A.R.E., or Coins Assisting Reservist Everyday.

What you have to do to make the pins is take some red foamy paper and glue them on a white foamy paper and paint the stars on with puffy paint. Then we hot glued the pins on the back. All we had to do was raise as much money as possible, and use that money to buy phone cards and gift certificates for the reservists.

Deep down inside it made me feel really good to have heard that my school raised more than $451.00. The pins were either an American flag or a heart shaped pin for only one dollar. We were trying to show that we need more freedom, peace, friendship, and a lot more love throughout our nation. We are very proud of ourselves at our school. We are also proud of all the Reservists who helped our country when we needed them.

A Student

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