Students from Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School shake donated money out of a collection jug so that it can be deposited in an a bank account dedicated to victims of this winter's earthquake and tsunami in southeast Asia.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The massive tsunami death and devastation three and a half weeks ago delivered equally massive grief, and, due to donations from all over the globe, it brought in substantial relief. Aid pledged by mostly first world nations has nearly reached $1 billion dollars with charitable donations following closely.
That infectious charitable ambition has been caught by students around the Kenai Peninsula as well. Theresa Owens, teacher at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary, said students came to school feeling they should contribute in some way. A sixth-grade class came up with a plan to collect pocket change in water-cooler jugs placed in area businesses, all of which required some planning.
Shaynee DeVito, sixth-grader, took part in the coordinating process of their fund drive, "Your loose change can change the world."
"We set up a task force and called other schools. I did a radio broadcast and told everyone about it and did an announcement at Redoubt, Cook Inlet Academy, Tustumena Elementary, Nikiski and Aurora Borealis," DeVito said. "We were all touched by all those people feeling bad down there."
Terri Carter, teacher at K-Beach Elementary, said her students have shown heart and determination.
"This whole thing perpetuated when a couple little girls had been watching the news and expressed their helplessness. So many of them felt saddened. They may only be 11 or 12 years old, but they can really help and feel empowered to help. Kids were lining up with their piggy banks, knowing they were doing some good," Carter said. Owens said the kids have had a distinct vision of contributing.
"They have taken the ball and run with it. This is all about taking personal responsibility," she said. "From seeing the news in the paper, they came up with all these ideas, got water jugs, created posters, and made phone calls. Its so exciting to watch them work."
The funds they raise will go to the Glorious Children's Home in Rameswaram, an island in Tamil Nadu on the southeast coast of India. Owens said the money raised will go to buy medical supplies, water, clothes, mosquito netting and sleeping mats.
"This is one of few places still standing in the area, and now it's a refugee camp," Owens said. She found the charity through family members who deal closely with it. Her sister and mother are pastors and made the connection with Precious Daughters, a charity for mothers and families, which supports the children's home.
Bertie Church, from the Precious Daughters charity based out of Portland, Ore., visited the K-Beach class and offered an outlet for their funds.
"We're a women's ministry, and we connect with the GCH through people who started it. We're going to have a lot of orphaned children. Families will come and get on their feet, but the children will stay," She said.
Lane Kreider, sixth-gader, said his class wanted to help because it was the right thing to do.
"It makes you feel good. One dollar can buy a pound of rice and that can fill a lot of bellies," Kreider said.
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