By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Nearly 60 high school students brainstormed ways to help others in the Ann Arbor area after they followed the lead of a generous six-year-old.
When Wines Elementary kindergartener Peter Eldon invited friends to his birthday party in December, he asked his friends to give donations to the Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s Education Project For Homeless Youth instead of presents for him.
He was able to drop off toys, books and gift cards valued at close to $200 to The Education Project.
“Peter was literally skipping with joy after dropping the donation off,” says his mother, Huron High School English teacher Aimee Grant.
Then Grant had an idea.
“I felt that if a kindergartner could come up with this good idea, then my student could also come up with something impactful,” she says.
So Grant asked her students in her two IB MYP English 10 classes to identify a social issue in a book they’d read and then find a corresponding group that addressed the needs of those impacted by the social issue.
Before long, they were up and running.
For example, Celia Kent, Kevin Zheng, and Maddie O’Leary sold ribbons to raise money for KIVA/Empowering Women.
Gray Snyder, Isabel Berg, Anthony Van, Miguel Buendia, and Ben Schaedig volunteered as a group for several hours to sort books and CDs for Kiwanis.
Altogether, the students:
- Raised $1,933 for charities
- Volunteered 23 hours
- Donated three boxes of food and one box of household goods
- Sent 25 emails for social issues
Charities included: Food Gatherers, Freedom House Detroit, Doctors Without Borders, Girls on the Run, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, ACLU, Women’s Refugee Commission, Kenyan Urithi Education Fund, KIVA/Empowering Women Project, and Kiwanis.
“I’m really proud of the impact this project had on my students,” says Grant. “It’s a wonderful feeling to see so many young people coming together to help others.