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Their teacher went to Haiti…and now they want to help

Haiti, February 17, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Sara Logue  </span>
    Students participating in Tom McCall Upper Elementary School's Haiti fundraiser for Mercy Corps included (from left to right) Kaitlyn Hiett, Kate O'Handley and Elissa Anderson. Photo: Sara Logue

Sara Logue was a high school student when she visited Haiti in 2003. Now a fifth grade teacher at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School in Forest Grove, Oregon, she’s making sure her students are connected with the world beyond the walls of the school.

“We have a very community-based classroom,” says Logue.

So when she learned about the earthquake that flattened Port-au-Prince in January, Logue was “shocked and heartbroken.” She also made sure to discuss the disaster with her class. “I showed them pictures from my trip there, and we talked about the earthquake,” she recounts.

“One boy, Matt, raised his hand right away. ‘What can we do to help?’ he asked. Now, this wasn’t a ‘Should we help?’ or an ‘If we help…’ – it was this clear determination to do something. And the rest of the class felt the same way.”

Logue was proud of her 32 ten- and eleven-year-olds as they brainstormed various ideas and decided to hold a coin drive. The next day, they began bringing in piggy banks and pockets full of change, while parents added checks and currency to the collection jar. In the first three days, they raised $600. Another classroom joined in, and soon it became a school-wide campaign. In two weeks, they raised $1,726.57 to support Mercy Corps’ relief and recovery work in Haiti.

“Honestly,” says Logue, “ours is not a wealthy community, and in this economy, lots of our families have had layoffs. I really didn’t expect them to raise that much. Most of all, I love the way they just assumed they would help. At their age, that’s pretty impressive.”