Young Science Students turned Philanthropists

February 21, 2019

A class of eighth graders take action after learning of the devastation caused by recent disasters

Ms. Lauren Kronthal is an eighth grade science teacher at Far Brook School in Millburn, New Jersey. Every year,she teaches her students about hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

But, Ms. Kronthal is no ordinary science teacher. She also shows her students the humanitarian side of these disasters.She teaches her middle schoolers about the destruction a disaster leaves in its wake and the impact it has on families and children just like them.

This year, Ms. Kronthal’s science class also learned about the disasters in the news. The United States had just been hit by Hurricanes Michael and Florence and Indonesia had a catastrophic tsunami and earthquake. This group of students watched the news reports of people suffering in their own country and across the world. Upon seeing the devastation, they decided they could help.

“I learned in science class how destructive these disasters are,” said one eighth grader. “They can destroy people’s lives within hours. That is so terrible.”
When asked what compelled them to give back, another student commented, “Think of an object that is important to you. Now picture one day you arrive home to find that all of your belongings are completely destroyed. That idea makes me want to donate and help as much as I can.”

Kids Making a Difference

The class worked together to set up a fundraising booth at their school’s annual fall fair. They sold bracelets and asked for donations while informing their fellow classmates and community about everything they learned about the most recent disasters, like:

·       Hurricane Michael was the strongest storm on record to hit the Florida panhandle. The storm surge, high winds, and rain caused massive amounts of damage estimated at $4.5 billion. It will take years to recover.

·       Hurricane Florence was a Category 4 storm that damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Some families lost everything.

·       A magnitude 7.5 earthquake and the tsunami that followed killed more than 2,000 people in Indonesia in September, 2018.

Students also asked their peers to fill out cards with words of encouragement to send to hurricane victims. One amazing student wrote, “I know things are really tough right now, but all of us are here for you. Just keep breathing, you will get through this.”

Then, several of the students worked together to research where and how to donate the money they raised. They chose International Relief Teams because of our high ratings of transparency on Charity Navigator and our work with disaster victims. In all, the students raised $899! Way to go!

“We should all help others in need.They are people,” said a wise young eighth grader.
“What we did is the least we can do, and I’m glad we can help,” said another insightful student.
Another classmate added, “Other people are in need of money and supplies to rebuild their lives. When everyone makes small donations then it adds up.”

Everyone at IRT sends a big THANK YOU to Ms. Kronthal’s eighth grade class at Far Brook School. Thank you for turning your academic lesson into real action. Thank you for showing others that young people can make a difference. You are an inspiration!

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