“Once we heard about the devastation in Haiti, we knew we had to do something to help,” said Nayalyn Negron, president of the P.S. 205 student council in the Bronx. “How could we raise enough to ease the suffering of the Haitian people?”
It’s a question that students—and school communities—across New York City have been asking since an earthquake devastated Haiti January 12. Since then, schools have been singing, baking, designing, and organizing to raise money for the victims.
“Our school raised $2,008,” Negron explained proudly. “We designed, produced, and sold bookmarks and also had a bake sale.”
Students and faculty members at Brooklyn’s P.S. 274, The Kosciusko School, got to wear their favorite hats in school when they made donations. Their fundraiser, called Hats for Haiti, raised more than $1,400, which they sent to the Mayor's Fund to Advance NY for Haiti. To date, 94 City public schools, have donated $102,515.55 to the Mayor’s Fund.
"I participated in Hats for Haiti because when I think about myself in that situation, I would want people to help me,” a P.S. 274 fourth-grader, Kenneth, said. “I asked my dad for $3 but he told me, ‘No, I'm sorry, we barely have any money for ourselves.’ I told him, ‘What if an earthquake happened here? We would want people to help.’ The next day before school, I took pennies from the table to bring in."
Many students at the Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice for Young Women in Brooklyn either have family in Haiti or are of Haitian descent. So far, the school has sent $1,063 to Hope for Haiti, a non-profit relief organization.
“I think that as a student I should help by donating money that I would normally spend on pointless things,” a seventh-grader, Iqra Walayat, said. ”I can also help friends and people who know or have lost loved ones in Haiti. I can comfort them and let them know that they are not alone.”
P.S. 8 in Brooklyn raised nearly $2,000 through a staff talent show. The funds had originally been targeted to supplement the school’s arts programs, but the school community decided instead to donate proceeds to the Red Cross.
Drama teacher Noelle Gentile told the audience, "Your efforts in our small school in Brooklyn will hopefully make a small difference in Haiti where help is so greatly needed right now."
Through a four-day cake sale during the school’s lunch periods, students at the David A. Boody Intermediate School for Magnet Studies (I.S. 228) in Brooklyn raised $1,414 for victims of the earthquake.
“The cake sale was a very good idea and very helpful,” an eighth-grader, Luxian “Lily” Su, said. “I hope all the money will go to help the Haitians. And the food was delicious, too.”
Teachers are proud of the initiative their students have shown in responding to the tragedy.
Barbara Hubert, a forth and fifth grade special education teacher at P.S. 274, said, "I was so impressed with how many students, teachers and families made Hats for Haiti a priority. I am so proud to be part of a school community that understands how a large group of people giving what they are able to can make a substantial contribution. That's a powerful lesson."
Fourth-grader Kareem Flowers added, "I brought money and my hat for Hats for Haiti so the people who lost so much could build houses again, get food and survive.”
To contribute, please send monetary donations to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which will distribute the funds to reputable relief organizations working in Haiti. You can donate online or by calling 311.