By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Tsunami survivors are still suffering from a lack of basic necessities, and local students are doing what they can to help.
Each year Sunnyside Intermediate School fifth-graders donate the majority of the proceeds from their December trade show to charity organizations. This year, they will send $500 to help tsunami victims.
The students are still choosing a worthy organization, teacher Karla Geda said. This year, $338 will also go to the Montana Cancer Society to help a child attend Camp Make-A-Dream in Missoula. The students will give $75 each to Kitty Keepers and Ren's Rescue, and keep $100 for each class to have a pizza party.
The Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line has pledged to raise $450 to pool with money raised nationally by Boys & Girls Clubs of America. If each club raises $250, said organizer Dawn Rathbun, then the national organization will reach its $1 million goal.
The $1 million check will be given to a reputable organization that helps children, Rathbun said, but the national organization has not yet named a recipient.
The club plans to raise funds through a week of events, including a chili dinner Thursday at the North Central Senior Citizens Center from 5 to 7 p.m. The dinner is aimed at involving the community, but Rathbun said community members are welcome to participate in each of the week's fund-raising events.
The teens will run each activity and the younger students will participate, Rathbun said.
On Tuesday, kids will shoot free throws to win free pop, throwing two shots for a quarter. On Wednesday, the club will host a carnival and sell tickets for each game. Friday is movie night at the club, and popcorn and pop will sell for $1.
All the proceeds from all teen pop sales and Dance Dance Revolution, an arcade game at the club that kids pay a quarter to use, will also go to the fund. The club is collecting change at the front door as well. Rathbun said she saw a kid arrive this week, his pockets bulging with change, packed with money for tsunami survivors.
Havre High School students will be flirting to help the victims.
Each year, the Student Congress raises funds for activities by selling the results of a compatibility test run by the company iFlurtz. Students answer questions on a survey and pay a dollar to learn their best romantic and friendship matches at the school and another dollar to learn their best celebrity love match. This year the money will go to the American Red Cross.
Often the results are surprising.
"It's usually complete opposites with what you'd normally think," said Kim Jestrab, student body president.
Though they raise only about $100, it's good practice for high school students, Jestrab said. "It's hard to get high school-age students to give back moneywise," she said.
Highland Park Early Primary, Sunnyside Intermediate and Box Elder Elementary schools will each be collecting loose change to give to the American Red Cross for tsunami relief.
Box Elder fourth-grade teacher Marcea Soper has brought coffee cans to classrooms to collect change during the month.
At Highland Park, the goal is to fill two water jugs by Feb. 22.
"What we're trying to teach them is that empathy is a life skill," said Jeff Blessum, principal of Highland Park.
In their classrooms, teachers are encouraging students to raise money at home by doing chores.
"At this level that's kind of what we're looking for," Blessum said.
The coin collections, "Coins for Caring," will remain displayed in the school until Feb. 22, when parents come for parent-teacher conferences.
After they came back from winter vacation, the fifth-graders at Sunnyside decided to donate the proceeds from their trade fair. During the fair Dec. 16, students sold their homemade products and collected donations.
Throughout the rest of the school, there will be a coin collection as well. Faculty decided to call it, "Saving coins, saving lives," said Linda Kayes, Sunnyside principal.
Coins will be collected at the school until Feb. 14.
Havre Middle School will also collect coins, and the student council will match the donations raised with money that it raises through the annual magazine sale.
At Lincoln-McKinley Primary School, students and staff have worked together to make signs and bells that students will sell Saturday.
The signs read "I help tsunami survivors" and a $2 donation qualifies for one sign and one bell. The bells can be used as zipper pulls, said Judy Ireland, a second-grade teacher.
Ireland made the suggestion that the school do something, but she doesn't want any credit. "As soon as I said something, everybody just jumped on the bandwagon," she said.
Sixty-four students received permission from their parents and will be selling the bells and collecting donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Albertsons, the Atrium Mall, the Holiday Village Shopping Center and Kmart. Any leftover bells will be sold at the HHS basketball game Saturday night.
The school ordered 600 bells and each of the school's 270 students is responsible for making three signs. Ireland believes they will be well supplied.
The money will go to the UNICEF Tsunami Emergency Fund because that will allow Havre children to help other children, Ireland said.