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Kraxberger students step up for Haiti

Haiti, February 9, 2010

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Ellen Spitaleri

The Clackamas Review
February, 2010

Four eighth grade students raise $2,000 for Mercy Corps

Four eighth graders from Kraxberger Middle School learned a couple of valuable lessons last week: young people can make a difference and don’t set your sights too low.

The girls were so affected by the images coming out of the recent earthquake in Haiti that they decided they needed to put together a fundraiser to help those stricken by the tragedy.

“Our first goal was $800,” said Cassidy Olsen-Shults, but in the end they raised more than $2,000 for Mercy Corps, a relief agency based in Portland.

The four had intended to put up a poster keeping track of the donations, but the money came in so fast that they couldn’t keep up with it.

“We made a diagram that went up to $1,000, and we were going to color where it was,” Cassidy said.

“But by the second day we were over $1,000,” noted Jessica Coiteux, and by the third day they had run out of room on the poster.

“We all called our parents – it was more than I ever imagined we could have done,” Cassidy said.

In addition to Cassidy and Jessica, Abby Linfoot and Julia Schumaker discussed how best to raise money in the school, and came up with a class competition.

The girls talked to Principal Nancy Bailey and she helped them choose dates for the fundraiser and encouraged them to go class to class explaining the activity. Then at an assembly, the girls opened an envelope and announced that Scott Mulligan’s 6th grade class won the competition by gathering over $400.

The weekend before the class competition, the girls also baked cookies and staged a bake sale during a basketball tournament in Oregon City; that brought in $220.

Sad situation

The idea for the fundraiser came about on one day in PE class, when Cassidy came in and said she had been watching news footage of the quake the night before.

“It was so sad – they were feeding the kids mud pies to fill their stomachs. It really hit me – some of the poorest people were hit by such a disaster,” she said.

“I felt bad; we have roofs over our heads and regular meals and they have nothing. We have a lot, so we should give something to them,” Abby added.

“Since we live in America, we have the power to help them. Every penny counts – we should give as much as we can,” Julia said, while Jessica added, “We’re more fortunate; they are our neighbors so we should help them – it is the right thing to do.”

The girls chose Portland-based Mercy Corps to receive their funds, because Bailey told them a higher percentage of money goes directly to those who need it, whereas the Red Cross needs to spend money on doctors and medicine.

Cassidy added, “We have the ability to help and change their lives, and it is important to help. I take simple necessities for granted; it is a big thing for them to have a whole meal. We wanted to help – if we could, we’d fly over to Haiti.”