The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Fayette students answer president's call, help Afghanistan's children

Since the events of Sept. 11, Fayette County students have shown their true colors and patriotic spirit by hosting various fundraisers to collect money for the victims of the terrorist attacks and their families.

In a speech Oct. 11, President George W. Bush asked all children in the United States to earn $1 each and send it to the White House for the children of Afghanistan. Once again, Fayette's students honored the request.

Many schools within the Fayette County School System organized fund-raising activities to help their students make donations to the fund. Throughout the system, students raised approximately $3,000, which has been sent to the White House for the Afghanistan Children's Fund.

Robert J. Burch Elementary was one of the first schools in the county to create a fund-raiser campaign immediately following the president's request. The school created a "wall of caring" and placed one heart on the wall for every earned dollar that was donated. Approximately 286 hearts adorn the wall with a motto at the top that says: "We Care about Our Country, Our School and Our World."

"We started off by placing the teacher's name on each heart as the donations came in. It was amazing to watch as the wall grew from a few individual classroom hearts into the hundreds of hearts that represent our entire school," said school counselor Jackie Uttley.

In order to help the students understand why President Bush had asked children to make the donations, Uttley did a morning television broadcast every Monday to talk about the purpose of the Afghanistan Children's Fund. Many students had questioned why the president wanted them to send money to a country that was being attacked by the United States.

"We explained to them that we are not at war with the people of Afghanistan but rather with the terrorists who are making that country's people miserable," said Uttley. As a side benefit, the projects enabled the children to learn more about the lives of the Afghanistan children.

Students at Braelinn Elementary were asked to submit a form that described what they had done to earn the dollar they donated. Each student was given a form on red, white or blue paper. As students made their donations, the forms were posted on a wall to form an American flag.

Almost 700 donation forms made up the flag. Around the edges of the flag were pictures of Afghanistan children that had been cut from various newspapers. School counselor Billie Anderson says that students learned that many of the country's children were either orphans or had lost at least one parent.

"Our students learned that the lives of the children over there are very different from what theirs are here. This project helped them better understand the challenges faced by the Afghanistan people," said Anderson.

Braelinn sent the forms describing what the students did to earn their dollars to the White House along with each student's donation.

Flat Rock Middle School's Builder's Club, a branch of the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville, initiated a fund-raiser where students who donated $1 received red, white or blue hearts with their names on them. The hearts were hung on what the students called "the heart wall." In just three days, 200 hearts filled the wall near the cafeteria.

In order to help students at the school understand why the donations were needed, the Builders Club put together a PowerPoint presentation that was shown during the school's closed circuit morning broadcast. The presentation told students that the Afghanistan children were not responsible for the terrorist attacks on the United States and that they were also victims of terrorist activity in their country.

"At first no one wanted to help the children because everyone thought they were part of what happened to us. We told them that it was not the children's fault; it was the terrorists' and that we couldn't blame the kids for what happened," said sixth grader Ashley Ramlochun.

"Last week before getting involved in this project, I never cared about other countries. Being a part of this club and helping with the fund-raiser has opened my eyes to the fact that there are other people in the world who are not as fortunate and are in need of help," said sixth grader Dylan Scarborough.

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