Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Relief: Wisdom Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Here is a 10-year-old kid in Roanoke County, Virginia who has the right idea for helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina:
Pete Deaver came home from school Tuesday, sat in front of the television and saw a city full of water. As he watched, he learned the city was New Orleans, that kids would be out of school for months, that bodies were floating lifeless in floodwater.

The more this fifth-grader at Roanoke County's Mason's Cove Elementary School watched, the more determined he was to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

So starting today, 10-year-old Pete; his mother, Kaye Deaver; and parents at his school plan to start collecting coupons and items from businesses and restaurants to auction at the school Sept. 17.

Pete calls it "Operation Put Yourself In Their Shoes."

"I just didn't want anyone else to die," he said Wednesday. "The whole school is going to help."

By Wednesday, Kaye Deaver talked to an auctioneer the family knows from church, securing his volunteer services. She contacted the American Red Cross, making sure they could donate auction proceeds to hurricane relief. She visited the school at lunchtime, verifying with her son's principal that the auction was OK.

"He's got a big heart and he thinks about how other people feel and he wanted to do something," Kaye Deaver said. "He just felt like he had to do something."

Mason's Cove principal Tommie Ann Perdue said she thinks the auction will give children a sense of helping and healing. She said many students realize Roanoke lies in a flood-prone area. Some live in homes where creeks cross back yards. When it rained Tuesday, one little girl worried that her bus would be unable to carry her home.

"It comes home to them," Perdue said of the hurricane disaster. "They do think about it and it's on their minds."

Perdue plans to send newsletters home today advertising the auction. In addition, she hopes to tie the experience into character and guidance lessons at school.

Meanwhile, Pete stayed up late Tuesday, creating a list of about 100 restaurants, stores and car washes he will ask to donate to the auction. Fellow parents plan to help with the asking as well. Glenvar Middle School will spread the word by posting signs.

"Kids love to help," Perdue said. "It's going to give them something concrete."

The "Operation Put Yourself In Their Shoes" auction will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 17 at Mason's Cove Elementary School, 3370 Bradshaw Road. To donate to the auction, contact the school at (540) 387-6530.
I wish that I was one of those philanthropists with plenty of cash to give to worthy causes. I would love to present a hefty check to this kid's effort.

Update: (PM) A commenter named Gracie lives in Roanoke and has this to say:
I live in Roanoke VA, and while Mason's Cove is way across a county (and a city) from where I live and teach, that effort makes me proud to be living here.

I do know that the high school where I teach will be raising money to help those who have lost so much to the hurricane. I am quite sure that other schools will do the same thing, as they (and we) did last year for tsumani relief for those in Indonesia.

Makes me proud of our young people -- by far the majority of them are such good, decent people.
We couldn't agree more with her thoughts.
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