Monday, January 5, 2009

Soup from a Stone—Fancy That!

A key piece of our service at Generations Incorporated is engaging the families of our students. Research shows that family involvement—over all other factors, including socioeconomic status and parent’s level of education—is the best indicator of a student’s academic success. As Community Engagement Coordinators, we create simple, but meaningful, opportunities for parents and family members to be involved with and that encourage their student’s educational development. The annual Stone Soup celebration is just one such opportunity for family members to meet the teachers and tutors who help their child to become better readers and citizens.

At the event, Nathan Hale Elementary School students learned how delicious and fun sharing can be when they helped create stone soup to share with classmates, teachers, family and Generations Inc. volunteers. The folktale Stone Soup inspired the event. In the story, a village of hungry peasants refuses to share their food with three starving soldiers. The soldiers tell the villagers they know how to make soup from a stone. The villagers, in disbelief, follow the soldiers’ recipe. But the recipe is a trick. The soldiers tell the villagers that stone soup is tasty, but it could be tastier if they add vegetables. Each villager brings a vegetable to add to the soup. In the end all shared a little and all had plenty to eat.

Our event utilized the Stone Soup story line. Each student brought vegetables for our stew; Generations Inc. volunteers, staff and Americorps members brought bread, fruit and cookies to share, too. Parents, grandparents and siblings came to the feast and had the chance to meet their student’s tutor and see the great work they have done. The party ended with dessert and a fun, interactive read aloud of another version of the tale.

The Stone Soup party is a longstanding and treasured Generations Inc. tradition at the Nathan Hale. It is a real celebration of reading, sharing and connecting all of the people who share in our students’ successes.
Kim Bohling is an Americorps State Program Coordinator. You can email her at