When I first heard the news about the disaster in Japan, I felt like I often do when I hear this kinds of news – paralyzed. It is the way I felt when I turned on the television and saw the images of Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Thailand, the earthquake in Chile and the aftermath of the Westside School shooting. My heart was heavy as I listened to the initial reports of what was going on and how the rescue missions were underway. As the hours turned into days and all eyes turned toward the pending nuclear disaster, I really wanted to stick my head in the sand and try to forget about it. But I couldn’t forget about it and neither could the students at our school.
The kids and parents at PS 199 quickly organized a bake sale in an effort to raise money to help the victims in Japan. Within a few days, the signs were made and hung all along the fence in front of our school. Of course, Corbin asked if we could bake something to take to the sale. He helped me whip up a Greek cake that my friend Mina turned me on to. I highly recommend it. It’s super easy and delicious, too.
The sale started after school in the yard on Tuesday. It continued until the start of the P.T.A. meeting at 6:30 p.m. The students and parents did an amazing job of baking and selling. The final count raised was $4581.00 All of which was donated to the Mayor’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Fund. I think that is a good amount of money to raise from a last minute bake sale!
When events like this happen, it gives teachers and parents a great opportunity to teach our kids about many things. From the disaster itself, recovering the dead, finding family members to where the victims will sleep and what they will eat, the lessons to be taught are endless. And the other lessons such as organizing an event, team work and sales skills can be quickly learned and used during a time like this. The older students were working the sidewalks asking everyone to take a look and buy something from the sale. Some were as vigilant as those perfume girls standing in the isle at the department stores. They didn’t take “no” for an answer very easily! It’s an important step in teaching our kids that no matter where disaster strikes, everyone can help out in some way whether it is a million dollar donation from a celebrity like Sandra Bullock or a smaller amount from some school kids on the Upper West Side.