Rogers Students Help Haiti

As news of the Haiti earthquake reached homes in Walla Walla, Wash., teachers, parents and students of Rogers Adventist School began thinking about how they could help the hurting people there.

Tonya Wessman, RAS first- and second-grade teacher, says, "I wanted to do something to help. I couldn't go to Haiti, but I could give money. Our class motto talks about being God's hands, so I knew that my students would be eager to help. They have very soft hearts."

So her class, along with a number of other classes at Rogers, began doing what they could to help. Hannah Ehlers, Student Body president, encouraged students to set up a jar at home where they could collect loose change or money for doing extra chores. About a week later, at a Friday school assembly, students brought their donations for a group offering. Some students surrendered their piggy banks; others conducted a "warm-up" bake sale. Two classrooms redirected money they had been earning for humanitarian projects.

Meanwhile, parents of Wessman's students went to work planning a bake sale. On the day of the sale, three tables were filled to overflowing with cookies, cakes, brownies, bread and other baked goods. Students helped, making signs ahead of time and selling items during the school's lunch period. Jennifer Farrens, parent and bake sale organizer, says, "Through the bake sale, the students learned that anyone can help. Even young children can make a difference. And through the children, the adults got involved too. What better way to teach our children to help others than by our actions?"

"I thought this would be a good project for our first- and second-graders because it was an opportunity to help the kids become more aware of how much we have and how little others have, says Wessman. "We talked about how Haiti was already a very poor country before the disaster and how many of the people in Haiti now don't have anything more than the clothing they were wearing."

Between proceeds of the bake sales, students' chore money, the school assembly offering, and generous donations, the school raised over $3,800 to help in Haiti through Adventist Development and Relief Agency.

"The kids are very excited that they could really do something big. Now we are praying that in the same way Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes, He will bless our money so that it will go far in helping people in Haiti," says Wessman.

April 01, 2010 / Upper Columbia Conference