Tyler, Texas (KETK) — Six fifth-grade students at Bell Elementary Global Communications Academy are working together to help a classmate in need.
Upon returning to class from the Christmas break, Kyra Adams, Aniyah Buchanan, Darcie Henderson, Michelle Leal, Brianna Rincon and Kiandra Taylor learned that their classmate, Lauren, was seriously injured in a car accident and would not be able to return to school for several weeks due to her injuries. Feeling the need to help their friend, the girls decided to join together and form “Friends of Lauren,” a school-wide fundraising campaign.
“It made us really sad to hear what happened to Lauren and that she really missed seeing her friends at school,” Aniyah Buchanan said. “So we wanted to do something special for her.”
The girls met with their principal, Dr. Keri Hampton, to present their ideas for helping Lauren and those ideas quickly turned into a functioning service project. Dr. Hampton explains that service projects are a key focus for the school and that her students traditionally help other students throughout the District through their annual Jingle Bell Run. So when the need surfaced to help one of their own, the girls knew they wanted to do something.
The group has set a goal to raise $2,500 by the end of the school year and has planned four fundraising projects so far: Change for Lauren, Jeans for Lauren, Hats for Lauren and Hearts for Lauren. To communicate their plans with students and staff the girls create flyers, posters and slide shows using skills they learn in computer class, as well as write scripts for the daily announcements. The girls also meet with Dr. Hampton weekly to brainstorm more ideas and opportunities.
Dr. Hampton notes that as the school continues to grow in the Leader in Me curriculum, teachers are seeing a positive shift in the amount of projects initiated by students verses the teachers or staff.
“It has been exciting to watch what happens when the children see a need and begin to act on it in ways that will help and support someone else,” Dr. Hampton said. “When they initiate plans themselves, they take ownership in what they are doing and truly understand the benefit.”
For Kyra Adams, her favorite part of the project is watching students participate who do not even know Lauren personally, such as those in the younger grades. “It’s like we all know that we are part of a family and families always help each other.”