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Digging Deep

Effort Helps Students Aid Tsunami Victims

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A Web site launched this month aims to assist America’s youngest citizens in helping some of the world’s neediest people.

Quarters From Kids, endorsed by former Presidents Bush and Clinton, is a philanthropic campaign to help young people raise money for victims of the tsunami disaster in South Asia.

The Web site, www. quartersfromkids.org, is sponsored by the search engine Google and provides information about the disaster, sample curricula, fund-raising ideas, and information on how to send money to established relief organizations working in the disaster area.

The initiative, announced Jan. 13, unites 100 organizations that serve 1 million American children and 10 “relief partners,” including UNICEF, Save the Children, and Oxfam America. Several education groups, including Teach for America and New Leaders for New Schools, are involved. Students pick which relief organizations they support.

At the Henry Street School for International Studies in New York City, students already have reached into their piggy banks and pockets and raised about $250 in loose change for the effort.

Educators there taking part in the effort said they have witnessed the benefits of blending values like leadership and charity with their curriculum.

“I think the biggest thing is the students know where the tsunami hit and what was going on there,” said Courtney Allison, the middle school director of the grades 6-9 school. Before the tsunami, she said, students overused the word “tsunami” without understanding it.

Jon Schnur, the chief executive officer of the New York City-based New Leaders for New Schools, which trains principals, said Quarters From Kids plans a town hall meeting in that city where student delegates from across the country would join together to plan more fund-raising efforts and share their experiences.

“There is no better way for students to learn than to combine service and leadership,” Mr. Schnur said.

Students at Henry Street School, all from low-income families, so far have made $60 from a bake sale and solicited donations from local businesses. One student donated her life savings—about $32 in coins. Ultimately, said Hoa Tu, the high school director, the students plan to raise $1,000.

Ms. Tu said she has felt the “vibe” that has motivated students to use their free time to raise money for “someone they may never meet in their lives.”

Vol. 24, Issue 20, Page 3

Published in Print: January 26, 2005, as Digging Deep

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