When my second graders at St. Joan of Arc School in New Orleans heard about Hurricane Harvey, the news struck them particularly hard. Many of them have relatives in Houston, and the images of the flooding and destruction were difficult to comprehend. After my principal asked our classrooms to figure out how we could help, we decided that we wanted to do something besides hosting a classroom food drive. We created a community action plan, which included asking not just our friends and family members for donations, but also asking our neighbors.
With that in mind, my students got to work! We drafted a letter as a class to people in our neighborhood asking for their help. We told them that we had a goal of collecting 500 cans. If they wanted to help, we would walk around the neighborhood that Friday and would collect any cans put out on porches. My students were so excited to deliver these letters, and we met many different neighbors along the way! All in all, we ended up passing out 150 letters to people all over the neighborhood.
When the day came, I was incredibly nervous–after all, St. Joan of Arc School had never done anything like this before, and I was so worried that people would not put out cans and my students would be disappointed. However, by 9:00 that morning, the school was already receiving visitors and phone calls letting us know cans were left out on porches for our second-grade class! When we went around the neighborhood, we had to take three different trips back and forth from the school because we collected so many cans.
Overall, the second graders collected over 900 cans, plus clothing, health and personal hygiene supplies, and over $175 in donations. The children were absolutely overjoyed, and it was so beautiful seeing their hard work pay off.
I wanted to share this story and pictures to show the intense love I feel for St. Joan of Arc and the amazing gratitude I feel towards ACE for allowing me to be a part of such an incredible community. When I first went to New Orleans I felt terrified, alone, and anxious. But my experience collecting donations with second graders truly made me realize the utter transformation I have made–I have never felt more at home than in this beautiful Christian community, so different than the other homes I have found, but so incredibly special in its own way. ACE is such a blessing, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given, for becoming a part of such a special place, and for being given the opportunity to grow and learn like never before.
Interested in reading more about awesome ACE Teachers like Amanda? Visit ace.nd.edu/teach