Hemby Bridge Third Grader raises funds for Japan relief
After viewing CNN footage about the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Hemby Bridge Elementary School third-grader Kate Thompson came running home and made a beeline for the four dollars she had earned getting good grades. “I felt bad,” Kate said, “and wanted to help.” Initially wanting to send food and water, she realized that money would be the best way to help the Japanese get what they need.
The four dollars sat on the kitchen counter for a day or two, according to Kate’s mother Carrie Thompson, when the idea came to her to make the money grow. And grow it did – exponentially in fact. A little over a week later, “Kate’s Japan Relief” fund has raised over $1200, surpassing her initial goal by $200. Monies raised will go directly to the American Red Cross with an earmark for Japan.
“She’s always been a very sensitive child,” mother Carrie Thompson says when describing her daughter, “and has a lot of empathy for others.” Given Kate’s actions, others would also likely describe Kate as motivated.
Making a Difference
As a first step, Kate got approval from her school principal to place a jar in the front office – and coordinated with the Media Center to ensure the word spread via morning announcements. She then cast her net wider as part of an e-mail, phone call and letter campaign to friends, families and area businesses.
“We sent 40 flyers to local businesses,” Kate explained, “and would love for them to match donations.” Her flyer encourages others to make a difference while acknowledging her desire to do the same.
Her efforts have clearly paid off and perhaps inspired others – if stories of other jars in other schools are any indication. “Someone next door to my friend’s house asked people wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day to donate a dollar,” Kate recalls. In addition to the Carolinas, she has even received checks from Georgia and Virginia.
Credit to the Teacher
According to Carrie, a lot of the credit must go to Ms. Ketron, the third-grade teacher who inspired her students. “The news can be scary,” Carrie explained, “And as a result we don’t always watch a lot of news in our house.”
In keeping with Union County’s initiative to “Globalize, Innovate and Graduate,” Carrie notes Ketron took care to show child-appropriate footage that inspired compassion from her students for the people of Japan.
“We’ve received several notes along with the check with people saying they were looking for the motivation to send money,” Carrie says, “It’s wonderful that Kate can be that inspiration.”
Hemby Bridge Elementary recently bestowed its “Terrific Kids” award on Kate – a program that recognizes children who exemplify character traits highlighted each month at school. It is apropos this month’s character trait is “caring.”
Those interested in donating can send a check made out to the American Red Cross directly to:
Kate’s Relief Fund
P.O. Box 1693
Indian Trail, NC 28079