Personal experience for a fifth-grader leads to local charity project
Posted on 04/25/2019
King ES female student and teacher. King ES 5th grade: Coins for Local Homeless ShelterA language arts class project inspired a fifth-grader at King Elementary to create a charity that raised $288 to help the local homeless with bus fare. Students were required to think of a real-world problem and conduct research to find a solution. The projects were meant to be hypothetical, but ‘Coins for Local Homeless Shelter’ has now become a reality.

The young student created a flyer, and with help from the King Elementary’s Student Council Association, presented the project to the fifth-grade classes and staff. During the presentation she shared that she had lived in a homeless shelter with her mom for five months, which is why this project is personal for her. “To see the light in her eyes every time someone donates shows how much this cause means to her,” Mary Murtha, fifth-grade language arts teacher, shared.

The coins will be used to buy bus tokens for people to attend job interviews, appointments, etc. The  campaign ran for two-weeks, and students also made cards to send with the donations. 

For the past two years, Rich Garon, a former U.S. House of Representatives' Chief of Staff and author, has spent every Tuesday volunteering in King Elementary’s fifth-grade language arts classes. It just so happened that he also works with the homeless in Northern Virginia. He connected the student philanthropist with the Bill Mehr Drop-In Center for the Homeless in Woodbridge.

“I have always tried to show my students how important it is to be a productive citizen, community helper and overall make a difference in the world around them,” Murtha shared. “This is where we find our true leaders - one that is willing to take their life experience and make a better life for someone else,” Murtha added.