Oak Harbor students' help heal Haiti

Sixth-grader Rickell Piloneo hangs paper hearts in the hallway of her school for the new donations Wednesday.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
Sixth-grader Rickell Piloneo hangs paper hearts in the hallway of her school for the new donations Wednesday.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

As relief work continues in Haiti after January’s devastating earthquake, Oak Harbor schools are collecting money for the country one dollar at a time.

“The kids are taking on the power of helping the world community,” Oak Harbor Middle School teacher Lynn Goebel said.

The student-sponsored fundraiser, Helping Hearts for Haiti, asks students to donate a single dollar. Students at Oak Harbor Middle School raised about $350 in 10 days. The money will be forwarded to the Red Cross, Goebel said.

The project started at the middle-school level and spread to Oak Harbor High School and Oak Harbor Elementary School.

For each donation received, a heart will be posted on a wall.

“After school and in the morning, the students make a train of hearts around the building,” Goebel said. “We’re hoping to outline all the hallways.”

Students began researching the disaster online, following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake Jan. 12. The middle school teachers also invited the Red Cross to talk to children about how the money would be used.

“They learned that most people in Haiti live off two bucks a day, and $1 will make a huge difference for clean living and access to water,” Goebel said.

Oak Harbor Middle School sixth-grader Rickell Piloneo has volunteered four days after school so far, and believes $1 can change a life. Along with making paper heart cut-outs, she is one of many students who reads morning announcements asking classmates to donate.

“I learned that it doesn’t matter how much you donate, a little boy could get stitches for his leg or it can help people find their families,” Piloneo said.

The fundraiser began Feb. 1 and will continue to Feb. 26.

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