April 28, 2021

4th Grade Learning for Hope of the Valley

Oakwood School’s 4th Grade class recently concluded an exciting two-month learning project that helped support the Hope for the Valley community in North Hollywood. Read more about the persistence and passion that evolved from a student-research project and young peoples’ enthusiasm to engage in the community.

In mid-February, teacher Nicola Berlinsky had a conversation with her student Lila about ways to discover additional avenues for learning. This began by asking what she might be passionate about, so they might engage her interests. Lila shared that she daydreamed about building a village for those experiencing homelessness. She also expressed how seeing so many people on the streets made her sad and that she wanted to do something about it.

”Let’s do something to make your heart feel better.” 

Nicola, Oakwood 4th Grade Teacher

That conversation launched an exciting two-month project for both 4th Grade classes as they embarked on a rewarding journey of community engagement.

The students began exploring new topics and subjects relevant to the housing crisis and those experiencing homelessness. San Fernando Valley students and parents/guardians were also invited to NoHo Home Alliance meeting on February 2 for a community conversation on homelessness and about ways to help unhoused neighbors. 4th grade was so engaged, the entirety of the class expressed an interest in wanting to do something to help.

During this month of student-led research, Nicola’s husband came across a news article featuring Hope of the Valley highlighting their work alongside the city to open L.A.’s very first tiny-home community on Chandler Boulevard, located across the street from the North Hollywood Recreation Center and less than a mile from Oakwood’s secondary campus.

Credit: Hope for the Valley

4th Grade continued to research the mission of Hope of the Valley and learned that they could sponsor the cost of building a tiny home for $3000. If each student could raise $71, they would be able to provide a home for someone in need.

The class then decided to make this year’s Read-a-Thon a fundraising effort. Some sponsors donated a flat rate while others donated based on how many books were read by students. Not only was the Read-a-Thon raising money for an important cause, it also encouraged reading! Additionally, 4th Grade hosted weekly food drives for the NoHo Home Alliance to deliver on their behalf.

4th Grade’s Read-a-Thon raised a total of $16,800.

Nicola recently toured the tiny home community with Hope of the Valley President & CEO, Ken Craft, and presented 4th Grade’s $16,800 check.

They are transforming lives by their generosity.

Ken Craft, Hope of the Valley President & CEO

Thanks to the incredible passion and persistence from 4th Grade, a total of five tiny homes are sponsored by Oakwood School. This accomplishment, which evolved from a student curiosity and passion, embodies all that an Oakwood education aims to be.

Learn more about Hope of the Valley at www.hopeofthevalley.org/nohoshelter.