Park Street School (PSS) students recently approached faculty and staff and asked if they could help Ukrainian children as a whole school. Thus, PSS’ “Children Helping Children” Ukraine Fund was birthed.
Partnering with “World Vision,” www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/ukraine-crisis, an organization that has been meeting needs of families and children in Eastern Europe for decades, PSS students set about making plans for and raising funds through a Walk-a-Thon, on Tuesday, May 24, as well as through the school’s PSS Talent Show, that took place on Thursday, June 2. We set a goal of $2,500.00.
“We have to help!” was the rallying cry of a few fifth graders in particular, joined in chorus by fourth-graders, sixth-graders, and even some of the younger students as they learn about the plight of Ukrainian children their age. Beacon Hill residents Eleanor G. and Lulu J. were among the students leading the charge.
When asked why they want to help … here is what Park Street School students said: “I wanted to help because I was watching TV one night and I saw a lot of kids who had no place to go. Kids who don’t have the privileges we do. Kids who have been separated from their families and have no safe places to go. It made me sad,” said Eleanor.
“I feel bad for the Ukrainian kids because I feel they should be able to live a normal life,” said Taury.
“It would be hard to grow up in the middle of a war and have to flee. I think we should raise money so they can have a safe way out of there,” said Draper.
“I felt sad because not just soldiers, but children were being affected. I am excited to help them because then I can help,” said Sebastian.
Fourth- and fifth-grade students created posters that adorned hallway walls, as well as a video to promote the cause. Students discovered that $ 6 could provide an educational activity pack for one (1) displaced child – including pens, crayons, notebooks, jump ropes and more, and $36 could provide a “Hygiene Kit” for one (1) refugee family – including toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, hygiene supplies, towels and baby care items.
It turned out to be a beautiful day for the Walk-a-Thon! Interspersed throughout the walk along the Esplanade (for the Elementary School) and in the Boston Common (for the Preschool), faculty shared object lessons for the students to understand what scarcity of water could feel like … or the scarcity of normal school supplies.
Using bread and salt – the Ukrainian traditional offering and custom to welcome people, students thought about the idea of hospitality that millions of Ukrainians have experienced as they have been displaced from their homes. Along the way, students had opportunities to pray for the displaced families. As the students walked, they understood their 1.5 miles in contrast to the 485 miles from Kyiv to the Polish border. Finally, challenged to think about what most treasured possessions they might grab given one minute, students gained an appreciation for the choices children their age have needed to make in other parts of the world.
The PSS Talent Show at the Elementary School was well attended, with Grade 6 students hosting the event, emceeing and introducing all of the acts. As part of their preparations for the event, the sixth graders decided to donate all proceeds to the “Children Helping Children” Ukraine Fundraiser with “World Vision.” They raised $583 at the Talent Show.
Students have not only met their goal, but have surpassed it five times over, raising a total of $16,390. Not only that, but students have also grown in their appreciation for the needs these children are facing.
“We are so proud of them,” said Head of School Tracy Bradley, “and so grateful for their hearts that are growing in empathy and compassion for others! We are excited to see the real life leadership skills they are developing, and for the hope they’ve expressed in wanting to be a part of making a difference!”