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By TMF2Aruba
December 4, 2002

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Hi Folks!

I posted this on Aruba's Isle of Revenge, but I wanted to share it here also. People here are always out to help others, so I think that a post about "helping" isn't really off-topic. Though it doesn't involve credit cards, it does involve caring for others.

Last week, my eighth graders decided that they'd like to do something for those less fortunate, and we decided that adopting a family for the holidays would be just the ticket.

I contacted our local center in the school district which deals with helping those in need, and they provided us with a family--known to us only as "family #12". The family consists of a mother and 3 children.

The form we were provided with listed the sizes of shirts, pants, and shoes for each family member, as well as "a special needs" item for each one. My students were very moved when they heard that the special needs items included such things as underwear, and socks, as well as a coat for one of the children.

My students were adamant that we should get all of the suggested items including the special needs items, plus some toys for all of the children in the family. Additionally, they said they wanted to provide food as well.

And so, we were off on our mission.

I've never seen students so dedicated to a cause, and I admit that I'm amazed at how unselfish and giving they've shown themselves to be. It's important to note that I don't teach in a wealthy area--just the opposite. Many of the kids I teach come from needy families themselves, and the district is known as a lower income area.

This project is a team effort between my 5 English classes, and here's what these great kids did...

Each child donated what they could, a few dollars apiece, though some donated as much as $10 (many donated more at the request of their parents). Some who weren't in a position to contribute money were able to contribute in other ways like by bringing in a new toy they had a home (we currently have 2 toys for each child in the family, so we won't need to use any of the money for this), or helping to collect during lunch periods. Still others signed up to do the shopping, and/or wrapping.

Also, each student is bringing in 1 or 2 non-perishable food items, which will fill several cartons and provide a wealth of food for our "family".

Here's the outcome.

These students managed to raise a grand total that has topped $400! This means that each family member will get new pants, a new shirt, new shoes, as well as the special needs item listed. On top of that, this family will get cartons of food AND a gift certificate for $150 for a local supermarket!

My students are SO proud of what they've accomplished, but they've made it clear that the best part of doing this is in knowing that they're helping others and providing a real holiday that one family wouldn't have otherwise had. As one student put it, "Isn't it great knowing that there are 3 children in that family who are going to be smiling on Christmas."

And I've made it clear as to how proud of them I am! :-)

...but I still am...


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