PALMDALE – Sixth-grader Destiny Solis beamed with pride Friday morning as she presented a check for $1,400 to the Antelope Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The money represents a collective effort by Rancho Vista Elementary students to help those who lost everything to Superstorm Sandy.
“We thought that they need help out there so we decided to raise ‘Nickels for New Jersey’ to help them,” said Solis, who is the Student Council President.
Nickels for New Jersey was a loose change fundraiser organized by the students earlier this month as a response to the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.
“We heard on the news that there was a hurricane in New Jersey, and then we decided to raise money to help families in need,” said sixth-grader Briana Campiano, who is the Student Council’s Public Relations Chair.
The students solicited family members, friends and people in their neighborhoods for spare change.
The pitch was simple, but effective, and went something like this: “If you care about people, instead of yourself, you would help them too, so give money please,” said Campiano.
The community responded.
In just 10 days, the students managed to raise $1,400.
“I’m gonna ask them if we can maybe have a meeting and I can learn how they do it, because that’s pretty amazing,” said Jeff Baumgartner, Executive Director for the Antelope Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. “It’s such a great sign for our future to see kids stepping up and having the compassion… seeing the need in being active and doing something about it.”
Faculty members at Rancho Vista Elementary were also moved by the students’ efforts.
“I’m totally impressed with the involvement from our students and their families and the Rancho Vista community, they all went above and beyond,” said sixth-grade teacher Bonnie Stidfole.
“We teach our kids to be good citizens, to help one another, and to help everybody in their country, and they stepped up,” said Principal Tom Morreale. “We are all very proud of them.”