Lakewood fourth graders raise money for Toys for Tots; then take it a step further by shopping for those in need

By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor

Lakewood fourth grade teacher Jessica Detering says the Marine Toys for Tots coin drive is a way for the entire class to participate in doing something for our community during the holiday season. 

At first, they were eager to simply contribute to the coin collection.

“All students brought in coins, small bills, and some even donated their own allowance and birthday money!” said Detering. “We raised $116.44.”

That was enough money to buy 18 presents.

Then many students in the class expressed interest in meeting her at Meijer to help pick out the toys.

“I had eight out of 15 students and their parents show up to Meijer and they all helped pick out the toys our class donated to Toys for Tots—which we dropped off at the Menards drop-off location, helped put the money in the machine, bag the toys, etcetera,” she says.  “This was super impactful for students seeing what their change and kindness did for 18 kids.”

Melissa Stull says her son, Colin, has developed a strong sense of equity and action, in large part because of the ways Lakewood as a community has centered this idea over the course of his education there. 

“As a parent and an educator myself, I really appreciate when teachers provide students with authentic opportunities to put their ideas about equity and kindness into practice,” she says. “This is such a project.”

She says Colin was so excited about the project that he asked if he could contribute the money he recently received for his birthday.  “This was a big deal for him, as he does not like to part with money!” she says. “He liked the idea of ‘making other children happy.'”

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