‘Heaven Sent for Haiti’
Schools are using Catholic Schools Week activities
to raise funds for island nation, other charities
As Catholic Schools Week begins, students at several Catholic schools in the Diocese of Dodge City are combining Catholic Schools Week activities with service projects to raise needed funding for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Karen Moeder, principal of Holy Family School in Great Bend, said prior to Catholic Schools Week that the students were studying the island country as a precursor to a penny drive.
“We’re researching it and learning a lot about it,” she said. “We learned that it’s 80 percent Catholic.”
During Catholic Schools Week, the school will take part in a “penny challenge,” in which classes vie to raise the most money. Part of the proceeds will go to Catholic Charities for their work in Haiti.
“We figure raising money is the best thing right now that we can try and do for them,” Moeder said. St. Joseph School in Ellinwood is also taking part in a penny drive.
Sacred Heart School in Ness City got an early start on fundraising efforts. On Monday, Jan. 25, the school held a “no uniform day.” Students brought home a letter to their parents the previous week announcing that for every article of their school uniform that they substitute with regular clothes, the student will pay $1. For example, if they didn’t want to wear the uniform shirt, they could donate a dollar and wear a regular shirt. They raised more than $1,565 for relief efforts.
Trina Delgado, principal of St. Mary School and St. Dominic School in Garden City, said that students were learning about Haiti in the days following the earthquake.
In a service project entitled, “Heaven Sent for Haiti,” Delgado said that students at St. Mary School are being urged to donate to the Haiti fund prior to taking part in each day’s Catholic Schools Week activities.
“I don’t think [the students] really understand it,” Delgado said. “I think to them it seems like a very far away, very foreign thing.
“We hope to put educational facts out to the students: where Haiti is located, that it is only 600 miles from the United States -- different things like that to help it become a little more personal to them.”
Delgado said that the school plans to donate the funds to a couple in Girard (southeast corner of Kansas), who operate a Health Clinic in Haiti that received significant damage in the earthquake.
“That ties it close to home -- that even someone from Kansas is working in Haiti, and we’re helping that family help the rest of those people.”
There are many lessons one can impart about the tiny nation. Delgado suggested to a teacher that she line up 10 children, and note to the class that eight out of 10 are unemployed in Haiti.
The 80 percent unemployment rate “effects everything,” Delgado said, “because they just have nothing. We’ll talk about the corruptness of the government and that there are supplies there, and that it’s a matter of getting them out to the people, and what’s impeding that … the airport…. the safety of the people who are trying to disperse these supplies.”
Meanwhile, St. Dominic School in Garden City will focus on raising funds for those closer to home, donating money to CASA, a child advocacy agency.