The generosity of children often amazes those around them. The students of Donna Emmons’ third grade class are no exception. Their willingness to help those in need has grown from a classroom fund-raiser to a school-wide project.
It all began with the reading of “The Water Princess,” according to Emmons. The book is based on the childhood of Georgie Badiel and tells the story of a young girl who dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her village in Africa.
Though not a part of the regular curriculum, the book became available through the school book fair. Needing to add autobiographies and biographies to her classroom library, Emmons reported she added “The Water Princess” to her teacher wish list.
Having received the book from one of the children in her class, Emmons chose to read it to the class during an afternoon book read.
“The students in the class were speechless once the reading was completed,” Emmons stated. “They could not believe some people do not have access to water – and it being clean water.”
Emmons reports that the next day the students challenged themselves to see how long they could go without water after coming in from recess. They lasted only 10 minutes. Following a class trip to the water fountain, the class determined to help other children have access to clean water.
“We had earlier read a story that is part of our curriculum titled “Here’s My Dollar” by Gary Soto,” Emmons said. “It is about a girl who started a movement to help the local zoo with donations. The students decided they would collect a dollar from each student plus me.”
Of course, how to get the money to the people in need became the next discussion.
“Several students in our class talked about how their church was donating money to Living Waters International,” Emmons explained.
“It seemed like a perfect plan. I told one of the students to talk with her parents to make sure the money we collected could be accepted as a donation. It was also during this time that I told the students in my class they would have to prepare a presentation to the principal to make sure we have approval.”
After giving the presentation and receiving approval, the students raised $160 during the week of Dec. 4-8. They also decided rather than exchange presents at their class Christmas party they would donate towards the clean water project. In place of presents the classmates gave the gifts of compliments to one another, according to one parent, who stated it “was awesome to listen to.”
Now the entire school is raising funds for Living Waters International in a campaign called “Higgins has a huge heart.” Donations are being accepted through Thursday, Feb. 15.