GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Jason Garcia, a kindergarten student at Netzaberg Elementary School (NES), held a small amount of change in his hands.

Although the dream of buying a new toy danced in the back of his mind, Garcia took his hard-earned cash and placed it in a large water bottle strategically placed in the foyer of the school.
"That was my allowance," said Garcia. "The kids need it."

Garcia, along with his fellow classmates and other students at NES, is on a mission to help the children of Haiti.

After the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, Jan. 11, Gifted Education Resource Teacher Rhoda Wilner initiated a donation program, engaging the students of NES.

"They had recently learned where Haiti was during a geography bee," said Wilner. "I thought this was a way for them to learn another lesson - compassion."

The donation drive, aptly named "Children helping Children," gave NES students, parents and community members the opportunity to donate any sum of money to support the relief efforts in Haiti.

The immediate response was overwhelming.

Within the first few days, the donation bottle saw an influx of loose change and large bills. Children and parents alike donated selflessly.

"It's easy to take the money you've been saving up for toys and put it towards something more important," said Marcella Bannister, a third-grade student. "You can always get toys, but helping the kids in Haiti is more important."

To date, more than $1,000 has been collected and the amount continues to climb. The money will be donated to "Save the Children," an organization that continues to launch emergency relief efforts to assist children and families in Haiti.

Additionally, 92 percent of all expenditures of "Save the Children" go to program services.

"The people of Haiti have nothing, so anything we give will help them," said fifth-grader Gina August, who has extended family currently living in Haiti. "And they really need our help now."

The donation drive is a viable way for the community to support children around the world and is of paramount significance to both NES and the education of its students.

"It's a tragic situation, "said Wilner. "But it's a learning experience for the children.
Helping other children has become very important to them ... and that's the best lesson they can learn."

To donate, stop by Netzaberg Elementary School or contact Rhoda Wilner at

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16