Students’ accelerated reading raises $1,100 to help fight poverty |

Students’ accelerated reading raises $1,100 to help fight poverty

Students at Carson Valley Middle School used accelerated reading points as a way to raise more than $1,100 to donate to developing nations struggling with poverty.

Daniel Campbell's seventh-grade social studies classes studied nations suffering from poverty and malnutrition. After the lesson the students decided they wanted to help those countries.

"I told them we can either move on from the lesson with a 'that's sad" kind of reaction or we can do something about it and make a difference," Campbell said. "They wanted to do something."

Campbell said the students found sponsors, generally family members and friends to donate money based on their accelerated reading points.

"Once a student reached a certain goal in their reading points they would ask someone to donate a few cents to a dollar for the fundraiser," she said."I wanted them to earn the credit in this. It was important to me to have them work for it and understand the worth they were putting into it."

Campbell then made contact with Heifer International, an organization that links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty, according to the website.

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"The donations will go toward purchasing something the people can use for a long time and grow off the resource," Campbell said. "For example, if we send a cow, a trainer will go with to teach them how to milk it, make cheese, etc. which can be used for both food and profit. They can also breed it and have more cows and the cycle can continue."

The Heifer International website said this strategy is to help create agricultural cooperatives and a sustainable income which can be used in forming community savings, funding small businesses, building schools and growing the community.

"We learned there was once about 3 million people suffering from poverty and now there's about 10,000," said 12-year-old Joel Harvey. "It makes me feel good to know we've helped."

Audrey Ruckman, 13, said she was surprised at how many people around the world live in poverty and is happy to know there is something she can do.

"It was a wake up call to see how many people are struggling," she said. "It makes me feel good to do something because it makes me feel like I have control over the situation and can help. Even if it's just a few dollars, it's still going to make an impact in someone else's life."

Campbell had the students make shirts to raise awareness of the fundraiser. They also had pins to wear and hand out to other students, friends and family.

"People would see us with the shirts and ask about the pins and we'd share what we learned with them," Ruckman said. "Most of the time they would be interested and want to help too and they would make a donation."

Campbell said the students will decide today if they want to combine the four periods' donations and purchase something together or if they want to donate separately.

"I think it depends on how much we raise by then will determine whether we combine the classes' donations or not and what we are able to get," said Ruckman.

Campbell used the late pop singer Michael Jackson's song "Man in the Mirror" to help the students understand that all it takes to make a difference starts with yourself.

"My goal was to teach them that no matter how old they are, if they truly want to make a difference, they can," she said.