Students raise money for Ike victims

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By Don Pace

Students at Mike “Mateo” Sena Elementary School in Sapello say helping others is what makes them happy.

The kids collected money for victims of Hurricane Ike and presented $188 to the Red Cross on Tuesday.

Principal Laureen Romero said this isn’t the first time her students lent a helping hand to victims of a disaster.

“Last year, the California wildfires were in the news, and as head teacher, I decided to get the kids involved in helping people in need. Caring and citizenship are part of the Character Counts project, so we used that theme and the whole school participated to help those suffering after Hurricane Ike hit Texas. We hate to think about disasters, but we hope to keep those affected by hurricanes, fires and other disasters in mind so that kids can learn to give and help others in need,” Romero said.

Romero said the money collected by the children might help people in small ways, like a hotel room for the night, a hot meal or diapers for a baby .

Fifth-grader Esperanza Saiz said, “Giving the money makes me feel happy because I’m helping people. They can probably build new houses or buy food or use the money for a shelter during a hurricane and be safe. It feels great to help people.”

Tommie Smith, a third-grader, said, “We thought we wanted to donate money because of the people in Hurricane Ike who didn’t have money or anything. We just wanted to help them because I wouldn’t like that feeling either.”

First-grader Cypress Rodriguez said it’s just a good feeling to help others.

Red Cross representative Connie Chavez said no donation is too small and the fact that kids from Mike Mateo have been engaged in disaster relief before shows just how much they care. She said the money donated by the kids would be in the mail to the Rio Grande Chapter in Albuquerque and then forwarded to the victims of Ike.