Students ‘follow their dreams’ to raise funds for charity

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Herrick Park Young Fives students made colored scarves for charity to help make the world a better place after hearing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. Pictured (l-r) are: Sean Miller, Gabe DiPippo, teacher Amanda Van Dam, Leila Morris and student teacher Allie Fick. Photo by Deb Wuethrich.

Students in Amanda Van Dam’s Young Fives kindergarten classroom at Herrick Park School took Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to heart after learning about the man and his dream last month.

“We were talking about how Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to make the world a better place, so I asked my students, ‘what would you do if you wanted to make the world a better place?’” said Van Dam.

The students came up with different ideas, then one student, Sean Miller, shared that he wanted to learn to sew so he could sew this summer and sell different items to donate to people in need.

“That led to a discussion and it came into my mind that we could make scarves,” said Van Dam. “Originally, I’d thought about doing that to make Mother’s Day presents.”

She and her teaching assistant, Allie Fick, ran with the idea after talking about how it could work if parents would donate white T-shirts and fabric paint.
“Then it kind of all fell into place,” said Van Dam. “So many people donated to us that we were able to make 100 scarves.” The scarves are selling for $5 each, so the class hopes to have $500 to donate soon to Housing Help of Lenawee.

Van Dam said the students also talked about other things such as recycling and how to make old things into new things, so the project became a multifaceted lesson. Herrick Park students will also soon be working on another project to make catnip toys to donate to the Lenawee Humane Society.

Plans were made to sell the scarves after school one day, however snowstorms meant postponing the sale. On Tuesday, Feb. 11, parents and students spent time in the classroom picking out scarves after school, and some were sold through orders.

Van Dam is proud of her students and the ideas they came up with. Their dreams are posted on the lockers outside their classroom.

A boy named Eli wrote: “I dream of a world with no bad guys or villains.” Leila wrote, “I dream of a world where everyone is nice to each other.” Isaac’s dream was to be a “bucket filler,” and Savanah’s was that “people would not call each other names.”

A little girl named Brooklyn capped things off. The paper on her locker said, “I dream I will spread love.”




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