Our 3rd grade teacher, Cassie Lane and ESOL teacher, Marilyn Tracy collaborated in writing this article for the West Hartford News. Take a look
The devastation from the earthquake in Nepal on Saturday, April 25 hit especially close to home for students and staff at Smith STEM School in West Hartford because many of the families in our community have immigrated to Connecticut from the Kathmandu region. The day after the earthquake, Shannon Jacovino, a third grade parent emailed her child’s classroom teacher, asking how we can help those affected. “I am heartbroken, as I’m sure you are, reading about the devastation in Nepal. [My daughter] has 5 children from Nepal in her class.” Parents and faculty put their heads together and came up with a fundraising idea that would allow students to feel that they were playing an important role in helping out their classmates’ families. By creating Nickels for Nepal, we started a community effort that accepts loose change or clean recyclables so that everyone is able to help.
According to a third grade student at Smith, people affected by disasters “need money to rebuild their homes and to buy food and medicine.” Soon, students were creating posters at home encouraging others to “Bring change to make a change!” The following day, a third grader who had become visibly upset while discussing the earthquake, donated the entire contents of her piggy bank. “I feel like I’m helping,” she said.
Not only is this fundraiser helping the thousands of people affected in Nepal, it is helping us come together as a community and heal after a devastating event that is hard for elementary students to comprehend.
Juan Melian, principal of Smith STEM School, feels that this fundraiser is especially helpful to those students who have family living in Nepal, who now “have a way to express their feelings. This came from them, and is allowing them to support their homeland.
Donations started pouring in in the days following the earthquake. As of May 7, multiple bags full of recyclables have been redeemed, and our five-gallon jug is half full of bills and coins. A pair of upper-grade students held a bake sale in their neighborhood last weekend and earned $160, which they donated on Monday morning. The generosity and kindness of the students at Smith STEM is remarkable, and Nepalese parents in the community have shared their appreciation.
The Smith student council voted to send the contributions to GlobalGiving (www.globalgiving.org/projects/nepal-earthquake-relief-fund/), an organization that has a history of coordinating funds between international donors and local charities in areas affected by disasters. In a March 2012 article on Forbes.com, contributor Tom Watson said the following about GlobalGiving: “Sometimes the effects of a disaster unfold more slowly than the headlines…For social ventures like GlobalGiving…that realization spurs strategic thinking about the long-term.” This aspect of the charity is what spoke most clearly to the fifth grade members of the student council. “I like that it has a plan to help out now and in the future,” said the student council president.
The fundraiser will conclude on Wednesday, May 13. Any questions about this fundraiser can be directed towards Mr. Melian, Smith STEM School principal.
Nickels for Nepal
This fundraiser provides a way for our community to come together to show support for the Nepalese children and families at Smith and to contribute to critical relief efforts in Nepal.
There are several ways to help:
Loose Change – There is a 5-gallon jug inside the office to collect loose change. This is a great way for all kids to feel like they are making their own contribution.
Checks/Cash/Money Order –People who wish to make a larger donation may submit checks to their child’s teacher or directly to the school office.
Recyclables – Families can donate clean recyclables that can be redeemed for cash (aluminum cans, glass bottles, or plastic beverage bottles).
Please contribute any way you can. Thank you for your support!