Our members have many passions: stamps, sharing, community, education. Connecting with our members, I benefit from hearing their passion and how they believe it will help the hobby. Getting young people involved in the stamp hobby comes up frequently.
There is no simple answer or single solution that is going to get school-aged children interested in stamp collecting. In general, we need to give them stamps and a reason to use them. In the digital age, it’s not just about the mail, so we have integrated stamps into hands-on educational opportunities.
To provide a snapshot of what we do for youth education, I wanted to share some of the ways the APS puts stamps into the hands of young people. We can’t guarantee that a large number of young people become collectors. Still, we are supporting some extraordinary educational efforts, and that is central to our mission.
Holocaust Stamp Project
In September, we delivered 1.5 million stamps to the Stamp It! Project in Bethesda, Maryland. The project is led by an attorney by day and a passionate volunteer educator Richard Sloane. Richard started the program to get his fifth- through 12th-grade students at DC-area synagogue programs to collect 11 million stamps to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. We selected 1.5 million because that’s the number of children who perished in the Holocaust. Richard and I spoke to the students about the importance of learning and remembering this history.
In October, we traveled to Stoughton, Massachusetts, to help launch Stoughton High School’s Holocaust Stamp Project, also aimed at collecting 11 million stamps. The students will use the stamps and their research to develop teaching lessons around the Holocaust for fellow students and the public. Stoughton Teacher Jaime Regan is modeling the program launched at Foxborough Regional Charter School, which just concluded its quest to collect 11 million stamps.
Members may recall that we delivered 750,000 stamps to the program in 2017. Foxborough has been looking for a permanent home for the artwork, stamps, and lesson plans. We gladly accepted the whole collection and will be putting together an exhibit at the American Philatelic Center to be unveiled on April 21, 2020, in concert with Remembrance Day. To send stamps to either of the education programs, please see the information below.
StampsTeach Goes Local
We also take great pride in sharing our hobby with our neighbors in Central Pennsylvania. On the first Thursday of every month, the APS sponsors “Stamp Hunters,” a club for students from elementary to high school to give them hands-on collecting experience.
Our Education team also goes out regularly to promote in schools and at youth events, most recently at an after-school program for the Youth Services Bureau. We also work with the local public television station to support events like Sesame Street Day. At that event, hundreds of children got to make their own first day cover and mail it to a loved one. In November, we are sponsoring a “Stamps Teach” event at the Friends School in State College, Pennsylvania.
Speaking of “Stamps Teach,” we will soon take part in #GivingTuesday on December 4 to raise funds for the program. Thanks to the support of APS members, we’ve received a matching challenge that will help us raise at least $5,000 on that day. Please be sure to follow our social media pages or check out the website at stamps.org to keep up-to-date on those efforts.
One column cannot do justice to the work our Education Department does. Not only do we support a variety of youth programs, but they also provide excellent learning opportunities for collectors of all ages and skills. We all owe a lot of thanks to our Education Director, Cathy Brachbill, and the rest of the team — Kathleen Edwards, Ross Jones and Jim Marshall—for their work in supporting our members, clubs, and community in making stamps a part of learning. I would also like to thank Leonard and Darlene Bloom, without whom we would not be able to get all those stamps to support these and many other programs.
In this season of sharing, we hope you too will find a way to share your philatelic passion by bringing stamps into the lives of children you cherish. If you need insights or inspiration about how to get started, you’ll find them in this month’s issue.
We’d love to hear what you or your club is doing in the youth education field so we can share your story. You can write to me or email me at email@example.com. For more information on our education programs, please go to https://stamps.org/learn or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.