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Students to help poor around world

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By Don Pace

Students at Sierra Vista Elementary School found that a small gesture of kindness can create a lot of magic.

Teacher Tom Conklin spearheaded a schoolwide drive for UNICEF raising $416.50 for underprivileged kids in many countries. He said the donations help with vaccinations, food, clean water, blankets, school books and many other necessities.  

First-grader Amor Roybal said, “It made me feel good to collect money for the kids who are sick and don’t have any money or clothing.”

Roybal and her classmates in Lucy Madrid’s first-grade class collected the most money, $82.37, and were rewarded with a pizza party in their classroom.

“My students were very excited to participate after our lengthy discussion about how fortunate they are to have food and shelter, a good education, and a lot of things that other students around the world don’t have. They learned a little generosity can go a long way, and we’re glad to give their time to a good cause, especially during the Christmas season,” Madrid said.    

Conklin said he remembers participating in the UNICEF campaign when he was a child and thought it would be a learning experience for kids at Sierra Vista. He said UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, and it’s not daunted by war or conflict, disaster or disease, geographic or logistical complexity.

“Every day, more than 24,000 children die from causes most people in the U.S. rarely worry about,” he said. “We do a lot of fundraisers, but most of them go to help with field trips and things like that.

“This is a totally selfless fundraiser and goes to children in other parts of the world. It’s also a way of letting these kids know that they have a whole lot compared to other children around the world. Hopefully, they will become lifelong learners about poverty and helping others, and use this as a steppingstone for that.”

Speaking for the rest of his class, Daniel Ray Roybal said, “It made us feel good to help other kids.”