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Suffolk schools raise money for Haiti

It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you make or what you do for a living — when it comes to charity, every little bit of time, every ounce of effort and every single penny helps. Students from all over Suffolk are proving it.

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, at least six schools in Suffolk began fundraisers to send money to the country.

“The kids have seen on the news the devastation in Haiti,” said Pam Wood, a teacher at Kilby Shores. “I talked with my own students how oftentimes we have things we want, but there is a difference between wants and needs. They know these people in Haiti have very basic needs. They don’t have schools or shoes on their feet. So the kids have really come together school-wide to help meet those needs.”

The students at Kilby Shores Elementary School sponsored a “Hats for Haiti” fundraiser, where children could pay $1 — and some opted to donate more — to wear hats while at school.

Also at Kilby Shores, the Kindness and Caring Club sponsored “Hands for Haiti,” which allowed students to purchase construction-paper hands and hang them in the hallway; the school also had a “Crew Hop,” where students could donate $1 for some fun in the gym. Through their three fundraisers the children nearly raised $1,000.

A similar fundraiser was held at Creekside Elementary where teachers students, parents and volunteers donated money to boogey on an afternoon after end-of-semester testing. The school raised nearly $500 to send to UNICEF.

Booker T. Washington Elementary School is running its “Hearts for Haiti” fundraiser through mid-March. Students are selling small red and pink paper hearts for 25 cents and larger hearts for $1. The school has raised close to $900 for the effort.

Mount Zion Elementary collected donations during Spirit Week by allowing students to wear different clothing on pajama day, crazy hat day, Super Bowl day and red and blue day for a fee. The school collected $300, which it is sending to UNICEF, an organization devoted to protecting children’s rights.

“I have a student who came to me with the idea that she thought it’d be nice if we collected money for Haiti, because her grandparents used to live there,” said principal Frances Barnes.

Students from Northern Shores Elementary School also have been collecting donations for paper hands in their “Lending a Hand to Haiti” fundraiser, which will continue through March 8.

“Our kids have always been very generous with different contribution efforts,” said principal Leigh Bennett. “In the spring, we will do backpacks for Haiti, as well. The kids are always very generous and seem to give a lot of donations.”

The students at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy also recently cut a $250 check to the Red Cross to use in its humanitarian efforts in Haiti. The school’s Interact Club, which focuses on community service, has been working at the concession stand during January and February to raise the money.

“Times like these are when we’re most proud as educators,” stated Brenda Kincaid, headmaster of the upper school. “We try to make the most of teachable moments and when the students take the initiative like this, you can really tell their understanding of the world.”