Students jump into tsunami relief effort |

Students jump into tsunami relief effort

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun Truckee Elementary School students (from left) Amory Harris, Aly Anderson, Sherri Russell, Ty Englert, Oscar Nuñez and Griffin Brown discuss the impact of the south Asian tsunami. Along with the their fellow fifth graders, the students collected money to go to UNICEF for relief projects.

When Truckee Elementary School student Ty Englert heard about the South Asia tsunami last month he realized one event could change someone’s life in the blink of an eye.”It made be realize how quickly something could happen,” he said. “You could go on vacation in paradise and go out to get some ice cream, and the next thing you know, this could happen.”To affect some change of their own, fifth graders at Truckee Elementary School began a campaign to raise money for victims of the tsunami that has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people – most of whom were children. All of the students in Candy Blesse, Judy Swikla, Nancy Shaeffer and Sara Kuttel’s classes have had some role in collecting funds. As proof, they have metal buckets filled with the weight of hundreds of coins they collected in each Truckee Elementary class.”We’re trying to get every kid to donate something,” said fifth-grader Sherri Russell.

The money will go to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an organization that works with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path.When fifth-grade teacher Candy Blesse saw the scope of the disaster, she said she knew this could be a valuable lesson for her students.”One of my goals as a teacher is to keep kids aware of our part in the world community,” Blesse said. “This is one way I felt we could reach out and keep reminding the kids how lucky we are.”It has helped the children put things into perspective. For fifth-grader Amory Harris, it has made her appreciate her life in Truckee a bit more.”It has made me think about how good our lives are, even with all the snow we’ve had,” she said. “We still have it pretty good.”

SIDEBAR: Middle school students join relief effortAlder Creek Middle School will be raising money to help the earthquake/tsunami victims in South Asia Jan. 10 through Feb. 10. The fund-raiser is being led by the Middle School Peer Helpers. Each homeroom class has a collection box for spare change, bills or checks. Alder Creek has decided to give all money donated to the United Way Response Fund, a government-backed agency for the relief effort. In addition to supporting urgent needs like clean water, food, and shelter, the United Way is focusing on long-term response and recovery efforts. They will concentrate on rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed in these towns.”The students at Alder Creek have large hearts, and as soon as they heard about this disaster, they wanted to help in some way,” said counselor Rachel Falk.If community members or businesses would like to contribute, checks can be made out to “United Way South Asia Response Fund” and brought in to the Alder Creek Middle School front office, or mailed to 10931 Alder Drive, Truckee, CA 96161.

Quotes:”This is a way to show that no matter how far away people are, we can help.” – Oscar Nuñez”I’m glad that we’ve had the chance to help people around the world.” – Aly Anderson.”Another good reason to donate is that some of the Muslim countries hate us and this might change things.” – Amory Harris”It’s important to help because we’re all just one world, and we have the ability to help people around the world.” – Griffin Brown”I just hope that it will get the people off to a better start and they’ll get further because this whole thing, it’s just horrible.” – Ty Englert

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