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Kody the Elephant

Kody the Elephant is a paper elephant about 5 inches tall who has spent the last week with me.  Kody has gone with me to the grocery store, to the ski slope, to the bank, and to my office.  A couple of days ago he went with me to give blood. 

In every venue I took a picture of Kody with my cell phone so I could email it to Michael, a developmentally delayed student in Ohio.  Here’s Kody in our backyard.  Can you believe the snow?  Here’s Kody wedged between a couple of grapefruit at the grocery store.  At the ski slope Kody wanted to tube instead of ski, so here’s a picture of him atop the inner tubes.  At the Red Cross blood donation center, I gave blood so sick people could use it and Kody gave blood so sick elephants could use it.Kody the Elephant  

Silly?  Sort of.  But Kody’s teachers and aides tell me Michael can’t wait for the day’s picture and email.

Kody is the brainchild of Michael’s special education teacher and his aide.  Michael is severely disabled and doesn’t speak.  He doesn’t have a lot of interaction with others at school besides his teacher and his aide, and he hasn’t traveled much outside of school and home.  So engaging him via Kody has resulted in a rare show of interest in other things and people.

When Kody leaves me in a couple of days (I’ll say good-bye and email Kody’s picture back to Michael), someone else in another city will have the tiny elephant as a guest for a week.  By the end of the year Michael will have traveled to lots of cities thanks to his creative teacher, his aide, and a few friends scattered around the country.  This school initiative costs nothing and only requires commitment by a good teacher to her kids.  And a 5” tall paper elephant.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Practical Leadership are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.