Help Haiti Have Hope

HELP HAITI HAVE HOPE

This is the theme of a presentation I attended today, by a group of sixth-graders who have raised (so far) over $2000 to send to an orphanage in Haiti. They had already been learning about the Caribbean in social studies class when Haiti was hit with the devastating earthquake. They wanted to know what they could do to help, and they started brainstorming ideas.

Since they couldn’t help in person, they decided to raise money, and to give each donor a rubber bracelet as a token of their appreciation. They worked out a business plan, designed and ordered the bracelets, put together a marketing team to get the word out about their efforts, created a web page as well as getting on facebook and twitter, and contacted local businesses about allowing them to set up boxes to sell the bracelets.

Their teacher (who, I was surprised to learn this morning, is in his first year teaching) emphasizes that the students have done all the work on this project. They came up with the ideas and voted on them, and they have done the legwork. He just provided direction in terms of what would need to be done – and I’m sure lots of encouragement. Those of us who attended the presentation were very impressed both by the students and their teacher.

You can learn more by visiting their website, www.projecthaiti911.blogspot.com, where you’ll also see pictures of the students (one boy is their photographer and has been capturing the whole project in pictures). One thing we learned this morning, which I don’t see on their website, is that they decided they wanted to direct their gift to children their own age, rather than relief efforts in general. They will give the money through the Red Cross, but a particular orphanage will receive the funds, and they showed us pictures of the orphanage (which has gone from 20 children to 120 since the earthquake).

I’m generally not keen on buying rubber bracelets as a way of giving money to a good cause, as I am not inclined to wear the things, and it means that some of the money given has to go to paying for the bracelets. (Their website shows that they have received nearly $4000, but some $1500 of that will pay for the bracelets.) But the fact that this was initiated and carried out by a bunch of sixth graders makes this effort special. And I would like to have a token to remember it by.

I know at least two of the students, from our Cub Scout pack (one bridged to Boy Scouts last year, the other is an older sister of a boy in my son’s den). Our older son attended that school for eighth grade (and was taught by one of this teacher’s brothers – I guess teaching runs in the family). If we are still living here two years from now, our younger son will attend school there, and will be in this teacher’s class.

I’d say these students’ efforts and achievement are a pretty good advertisement for their school.

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