The Indian Ocean Tsunami has been a horrible disaster, with the death toll climbing over 160,000, and at least 10,000 still missing. Even with both of those numbers combined, there is hope for the survivors and they need all the help they can get.

I remember watching the news one night and I heard a horrible thing. It put my heart right into my throat. The news reporters were talking about helping the hurt and sick kids and how they didn’t have enough money, so the kids would just simply die. I don’t know about you but hearing that news instantly made my eyes fill up with tears, and it made me wonder what could be done to help make things better.

This brings me to tell you what Monmouth Academy is doing to help those survivors. One morning immediately after Christmas vacation, the FBLA, Student Council, and the National Honor Society students all filed into a classroom, with the intention of helping people. We started throwing around ideas about how we could raise money that we could send to an organization to help with the Tsumami disaster. We set our goal at one thousand dollars. To encourage us to meet this amount we came up with the idea that we could “challenge” other area schools, to see if they could also raise one thousand dollars. This way we could help raise more money than we first thought.

One of our ideas included “a gold ribbons for donations” campaign. With any donation you would receive a golden ribbon that you could pin on your shirt or wear around your wrist like a bracelet. The color of the ribbon was gold to show that you have hope.

Before school on January 7, we started selling ribbons to students and teachers. We continued to sell these around the school during our morning break. That night our girl’s basketball teams had a home game, so we decided to collect donations, and in return give golden ribbons. We also had a 50/50 raffle at the game and we added that money to the cause. After the fundraising on Friday January 7, we had a total of about $500. We were halfway to our goal in one day! We held a 50/50 raffle at a wresting meet on January 11, netting about $60.

Another idea that we had was to hold a hat day for students, again for any donation you were be able to wear a hat during school for the day. On that same day we also had an option for teachers to, “dress down.” This means that teachers were able to wear sneakers, jeans, and a plain t-shirt instead of the tie with the nice pants, or the dress that teachers usually wear.

On our biggest fundraising day January 14 – hat day and dress down day – we raised a total of $1103.55! (Thanks to Monmouth Middle School which donated $437.42 and Henry L. Cottrell Elementary School teachers who donated $100). We exceeded our goal with a grand total (in just over a week) of $1663.55!! It is so heartwarming to witness the generosity of students and faculty…

Now you might be thinking that one or two thousand dollars is not a lot compared to the millions of dollars that other people have been donating. The truth is, every little bit helps— no matter how much or what the size.

On Tuesday, January 18, the Student Council, FBLA, and National Honor Society met again to discuss where to send our funds. We decided to send our donations to the American Red Cross. We know that Cony High School has raised $2,000, and is sending their money to an agency in Indonesia to build schools. They have an exchange student who is from that area and that student will send them an update through pictures upon returning after the school year. We hope others who joined the challenge continue to do good things for this devastated area. It was a great experience to work with others on this project and we look forward to hearing from other schools as well.


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