Personal connection makes a difference

Hurricane Sandy that recently hit the East Coast has had an impact on third graders at Skyline Schools.

Carrie Harrold and Bjorn Halderson's students took up a project to raise money for a family that was affected by the devastating natural disaster. The classes decided to adopt a family that was living in Long Island when the storm hit. Harrold heard about their story through ties with family members.

"I think it makes a difference that we have a personal connection," Harrold said.

The family has a fourth grade daughter and a one-year-old. They were living in an area where the flood hit unexpectedly. Everything was lost causing them to relocate to New Jersey. The fourth grade girl was very traumatized after the disaster.

The teachers couldn't pass up the chance to teach their students the valuable lesson of helping others. Notes were sent home to parents, and the faculty at the school was informed of the project.

The classes quickly began receiving donations for the family. With Christmas just around the corner, some of the money received will go to purchase gifts for the family.

The donations came from a variety of people who were willing to help. The kids themselves, parents and teachers sent in money for the cause. The first graders donated a substantial amount of money from the funds that were raised at their bake sale.

The third graders quit accepting donations on Friday. Harrold will place an online order for the gifts. The purchases will be shipped directly to the family in New Jersey. Directly sending to the family saves on shipping costs.

"They are really excited to help," Harrold said.

She believes the third graders have learned by getting into the giving spirit. In the past the classes have picked out children from the Angel Tree as a project to help others. However, this project is different because the kids don't actually get to see the final purchases.

The kids are learning to help and don't care "that they won't lay eyes on the items," Harrold said.

Third grader Angel Diaz donated $15 in quarters from his own piggy bank. He said he just wanted them to have a great Christmas.

"I hope they get to have a good home," Diaz said.

Katelyn Kumberg is a senior at Skyline School