Small Hands Changing Our Community

Saturday, December 22, 2018
Mrs. Thomas' 2nd grade classroom displaying their final total and message.

Giving back to our community and those around us is such an important lesson. It’s not one that has a learning standard developed by our state, but it’s a lesson in empathy, compassion, caring, and bringing joy to others. My 2nd grade classroom, at Jefferson Elementary, was able to bring these to life.

When I heard that someone had stolen an inflatable that represented a young child’s life and served as a remembrance of him, I was heartbroken. Like so many in our community, it saddened me to think someone could do such to this family. I wanted to share with my students what had happened in our area. On Wednesday, December 12th, my students watched the KFVS12 news clip regarding the story. My students were extremely moved by this story and wanted to do something. We decided, as a class, to do something to help this family.

We decided to “Change” the community. We worked organizing a school wide fundraiser. My students created flyers, passed them out to every classroom, and made collection bags for each classroom. Students worked in groups, some were in charge of creating flyers, others creating collection bags and containers. Each morning, my students would go to every classroom and collect any donations given from our amazing students and staff.

It was truly amazing, the tremendous support we received. Each day, we collected the money and my students would sort, count, and total the donations. We had an overwhelming amount of support from everyone. Each day, the total grew. In the end, we raised over $200.

Owen Sterling and Zaniyah DeBerry working on sorting money from our collection jar.

We were planning to utilize the money to replace the Mickey Mouse inflatable that was stolen, however, an amazing person had already replaced it. The family had previously had the display at the Cape County Park, but it had become to expensive this year. We decided to bring it back to the park. In honor of Jaxson Gonzalez, we used the money to pay for their previous spot for the next two years for the Christmas display.

For the students at Jefferson Elementary, this was a way of helping and giving back to someone in our community. I know, for my class and myself, this will be something they always remember and look back on. Next year, when driving through the park to see the Christmas display of lights, they can smile, knowing their support, compassion, and hard work helped this young boy’s memory live on.

Each day, we would send a school wide email to update students and staff of our fundraising total.
After sorting and counting all the money, students would work to add the total for each day. Not only was this for such an amazing cause, students were gaining knowledge of counting money, making dollars, and totaling with decimals.
Students worked in partners, creating flyers to pass out to each classroom.
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