Houses for Haiti

School kids raise money for relief efforts

Posted: Friday, February 05, 2010

About $200 here, $1,311 there and add another $3,000 from there.

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Money donated to Haiti from students in Juneau's classrooms and schools is adding up. Fundraising for the country, devastated by an earthquake on Jan. 12, is also providing a learning opportunity for students.

Students from Thunder Mountain High School, which has already raised more than $3,000 with its Art for Haiti event Jan. 23, are engaged in other fundraising efforts, as well. Students from Jan Neimeyer's ceramics class are participating in the international "Houses for Haiti" project, in which they create small ceramic houses to be used as pins and magnets, to be sold at the Arts for Kids celebration from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Neimeyer said proceeds will likely go with the Art for Haiti event's proceeds to the Art Creation Foundation for Children, a school in Jacmel, Haiti.

"It was a creative idea to get it out there so people know about it," said TMHS senior and ceramics student Hannah Wilwert of the project. "High school kids were not that aware before of the houses that were lost."

Junior Courtney Johnson agreed, adding, "You always have your home to go back to, but when that's gone..."

A first grade class at Mendenhall River Community School raised more than $200 by doing chores, and the student council at the school is collecting donations. At Harborview Elementary School, Montessori classrooms are taking up a collection of money to go to Haiti through UNICEF.

At Juneau-Douglas High School, student leadership raised $1,311. Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School made informational signs with the text information for donating to the Red Cross Haiti relief efforts.

Floyd Dryden Middle School is participating in a challenge with Sitka Middle School to see who can raise more money over a two-week period; as of Thursday morning, they were at $1,486 - and still going.

At Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, Carole Bookless' sixth grade class raised more than $200 for the huCARE. Bookless is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, and the Canadian government has agreed to match Haiti-destined donations by Canadians to registered charitable organizations - the class is planning on donating through the Canadian CARE Web site, Bookless said.

"The students are just fantastic," Bookless said. "People donated just so much, and a lot of these kids don't have a lot of money - they're just sixth graders. They were just so generous it was touching."

Bookless said she usually does a fundraiser with her class. Last year they raised $100 for trees in Brazil. This year, the students were at a point in their curriculum at which they talk about wars and catastrophes when the earthquake happened.

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or

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