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EDUCATORS make a difference!
Programs are intended for children

The below materials have been created for elementary school educators to use in their classrooms to promote character education, literacy, and service-learning. These materials are designed to work together. Students read the book to get inspired to help others and educators use the units to integrate character education into curriculum. The music CD is a wonderful way for children to make the book come alive through learning the words to the song that was written for the book. Performing the play can be most helpful to children in enhancing their reading skills through music and drama. Once the students are inspired to make a difference, they must research literacy as a local/global issue. It is then that teachers can introduce The OCHO Project as a way for students not only to voice their concern but also as a way for students to take action to help others. 

In this way, students, teachers, and parents can truly make an external experience become an internal feeling, thus instilling a true understanding of these core values (empathy, kindness, cooperation, respect, and responsibility). The goal is for positive student choices to be the reflection of this learning experience.


Copyright © 2019 The OCHO Project, LLC. • All rights reserved

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The Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others by Marilyn Perlyn [View Book Online]
Hardcover picture book 

Filled with splendid illustrations and inspirational ideas for children, this heartwarming true story will give children a real understanding of the feelings that come from giving.

Young readers will delight in seeing the grade school photo of Amanda and her teacher at the end of the story. The realization that Amanda is a real person leaves children looking for opportunities to follow her example.

In a time when volunteerism has become a national effort, it is most important for children to recognize that they have the capability within themselves to make their world a better place. Amanda’s shining example of a child’s caring may well be the catalyst for other children to understand how their own acts of caring can have a profound impact on both themselves and others. This is a warm and beautiful true story of how a young child learns to help someone in need. This book can be used to integrate character education (empathy, kindness, and caring) into curriculum by following the Elementary Level Thematic Unit and Creating a Culture of Character through Service-Learning. 


Elementary Level Thematic Unit [View] [Download - 20 page document]
This unit is a collaboration between Marilyn Perlyn, author of The Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others and Dr. Mara Zapata, Program Director for the Partnership in Character Education Program, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The information it contains will help educators to meet state standards while using this book as part of their curriculum.


Creating a Culture of Character through Service-Learning [View] [Download - 15 page document]
This is an easy guide that explains service-learning and how to develop a service-learning project. It includes academic activities to support The Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others, related quotes, fortune cookie messages, Amanda’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, Gee Whiz Kids contest application, and Websites for character education and service-learning.

Info & Order

The Biggest, Brightest Light of All - CD [Info & Order]
Written for The Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others, this beautiful song brings the book alive. The CD comes with sheet music with lyrics and four separate tracks of the song. Track one is the song in full, tracks two and three are missing vocals for you to practice, and track four is to be used for performance with your students singing the melody and countermelody.

Info & Order

The Biggest and Brightest Light - Stage Play [Info & Order]
Based on the true story in The Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others, the play supports character education by teaching empathy, kindness and caring. Play and music were written by Lee Knight for elementary school students (3rd - 5th grade) to perform.

High Resolution
Project Guide

The OCHO Project: Read for a Need [View Low Resolution Project Guide]
[Download High Resolution Project Guide - 50 page (81mb) document] [Download OCHO Project Logos]
A character and literary based service-learning program that is dedicated to exposing children to the joys of reading while teaching them that, through reading, they can help others less fortunate than themselves.

The sole member of The Ocho Project, LLC is Stepp'n Up Shoes for Kids, Inc., a Florida not for profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.