Bell ringing is not just for street corners or shopping centers.

Northwest Elementary School in Brownwood partnered with the Salvation Army to have a kettle at their campus last week during drop-off and pickup times. Counselor Christine Young and Librarian Amy Ripple developed the campaign to teach students about citizenship and volunteering.

“I want them to learn what it means to be part of the community,” Young said.

Donna Harris, director of the Salvation Army Service Center in Brownwood, made a presentation to Northwest Elementary on Dec. 11 to talk about volunteering on a child’s level.

“I thought it was a wonderful idea for them to have a kettle at the school,” Harris said. “People don’t think about children being able to volunteer.”

According to Harris, when children are a part of a volunteer project, they are more apt to do it again, which sets a good foundation for future volunteering.

Northwest Elementary is the only campus in Brown County to have a kettle, Salvation Army officials said. In fact, Harris has never heard of kettles at schools, and plans on sharing its success with Salvation Army State Headquarters.

Ringing the bells on Tuesday were third graders Amber Harding and Gabriel Hinojosa. The classes decided who would be the bell ringers, so it is quite an honor to be selected.

When asked about the Salvation Army, Gabriel answered that Harris “came to their school to talk about her job, and that she helps poor people.”

Amber remembered that Harris spoke about helping people after hurricanes and tornados.

According to Young, after the first day of having the kettle, the kids were ready with coins in their hands. Christmas music is played outside during drop-off, and the door openers – who are teachers’ aids – wear Santa hats to greet the children and parents.

“The response has been really great,” Young said.

Emily Crawford is the community relations coordinator for Brownwood schools.