This week the flu made its way through my students. I, thankfully, have remained healthy. Today, I want to celebrate my student Andrew and his initiatives. Before Christmas he became interested in the plight of orphaned elephants. We read a Scholastic Scope magazine article that pointed to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Preserve. Andrew wanted to raise funds to adopt an orphaned elephant at the preserve. The adoption fee is $50 a year. He decided to sell posters to classmates. I ordered Vista Print posters of a baby elephant picture from my trip to Tanzania, Africa.
Before the Christmas break, Andrew presented to his fourth grade classmates. He raised about $32. After Christmas break, he decided to present to third grade classes. He raised the remaining funds he needed. He crafted a letter to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Preserve explaining the project and selecting Malima as the baby elephant he wants to sponsor. This video broke our hearts. Andrew and I both already feel and love and affection for Malima.
Andrew is one of those rare kids who wants to inspire and make a difference. In January when preparing to choose our One Little Word, I read aloud the book Beautiful Hands. The production of this book has a heartwarming story. Kathryn Otoshi worked with Bret Baumgarten who was diagnosed with cancer to design this book from something he would say to his own children, “What will you do with your beautiful hands today?”
The artwork was created all with handprints and fingerprints, even a dog print from Bret’s dog.
“My hope that this story empowers love, creativity, compassion, and a
connection to you and yours, in the fulfilling and remarkable way it has for me”
~ Bret Baumgarten, 1970–2014
I think Bret would be proud to know what Andrew did with his inspiring words. Andrew wanted to read the book to his sister’s first grade class and do a hand printing activity with them. Some of Andrew’s gifted classmates helped him. I was impressed with how smoothly the whole activity went. I was not sure because we had to paint all the kids’ hands and help them print. Andrew had selected some Valentine quotes for the kids to copy into their hand painted cards. This creative service activity was a positive experience for all of us.