Garfield Re-2 students support hurricane relief |

Garfield Re-2 students support hurricane relief

Theresa Hamilton
Garfield Re-2 Communications Director

When Hadlie Diaz was in second grade, she chose Mother Teresa as the historical figure to focus on for a class project. She learned much through her investigation of a woman who dedicated her life to the service of others. As she watched Hurricane Harvey settle over Texas, raining for days on end, it served as a call to action for the Rifle Middle School student.

“I was watching a video of the flooding in Port Arthur, Texas. It made me sad that people would loose clothing, furniture, all of their possessions,” explained the RMS sixth grader. “I thought it would be a good thing to try and help the people in Texas.”

She did her research, looking at many web sites to learn what kinds of supplies are needed for hurricane relief efforts. She secured the commitment from the Rifle Subway to provide an incentive party for the class that brought in the most items and then, she brought a written proposal to Rifle Middle School principal Jennifer Nipper.

“After I received Hadlie’s proposal, I brought it to the staff. I told them, ‘look what one of our kids wants to do!’ and that was all it took. The staff was ready to act. Here we had someone with a plan and we said, ‘Let’s not stand around. Let’s get moving” Nipper said. “Community members just brought things in. People were happy for the opportunity to give.”

As the supplies began to stack up in the RMS library, it made Hadlie appreciate even more her RMS community.

“RMS for me is one of the best middle schools. Our Peer PALS give. Our teachers give a lot. We do several projects that collect donations for the animal shelter and for food drives,” explained Hadlie.

The greatest challenge was getting all of the supplies boxed up and ready to go to the Red Cross but it was worth it.

“I like helping others,” explained Hadlie. “I like being part of teams and being competitive but also being helpful thoughtful. There are a lot of people out there that need help to get back on their feet.”

Principal Nipper explained that just as each generation has the tendency to judge the previous and the next, the kids today are poised to do great things.

“They are compassionate, and motivated, and they want to do things,” said Nipper of her Gen Z students. “They are going to grow up and solve problems in this world. They are human beings and they have a special mission.”

Riverside Middle School sends Hurricane Relief

At Riverside Middle School, each grade level is engaging in Hurricane Relief efforts with the intent of providing specific needs to individual schools.

Riverside counselor Lauren Espinoza presented the idea to the Riverside staff and immediately, teachers began thinking about how they could help. Each grade level and several other staff members committed to support the ongoing hurricane relief efforts.

“We wanted to make it a long term venture,” said Espinoza. “I was the point person and wanted to get ideas going, and find ways to connect with schools.”

Espinoza stumbled upon a Facebook page called Hurricane Harvey Teachers in Need. That led to a Google Doc allowing teachers in the path of Hurricane Harvey to connect with people and schools that wanted to help. A connection was made between Riverside Middle School and a middle school in Vidor, Texas.

Riverside librarian Laurie Dickey connected with the librarian in Vidor and through the annual Book Fair, Riverside and Scholastic will be sending over $600 in new books to replace those lost in the floods.

“Our kids were so amazing, generous and willing. We stated the need and students delivered,” said Dickey. “A lot of students had connections in Texas, Florida and even as far as Puerto Rico.”

She added that the night the fair closed, she counted all the change, and went to Principal Karen Satter with a total.

“I had tears in my eyes. I am so very proud of our community, staff and students. What an amazing place to belong! The librarian in Vidor, Tx, said she had tears in her eyes when she read our email,” added Dickey.

Another direct school connection was made with the Gerald Adams Elementary School in the Florida Keys when a former Riverside employee reached out and shared the devastation in their school.

The eighth grade students are competing to see how many box tops they can collect through the month of October with the goal of sending Gerald Adams Elementary a box of box tops – each box top can be redeemed for 10 cents by the school.

Other classes have held hat-day fundraisers, drawings, and others haven’t determined what their outreach and support will be, but each grade level is committed to supporting their hurricane stricken peers.

“We wanted our school to have direct contact with schools in need so we could be precise in supporting their needs,” said Espinoza. “It took us a little longer to get going, and our efforts will last a little longer. We are trying to navigate the system in an environment where simple things like power, phones and Internet have taken time to re-establish.”

If you have box tops you would like to support the #boxofboxtops, you can deliver them to Riverside Middle School by Oct. 31 at 215 Alder Ave. New Castle, CO 81647.

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