By selling slightly used toys within their school, a group of second graders at Westmere Elementary School in Guilderland have raised money for those deeply impacted by Tropical Storm Irene.
During the week of Dec. 5, students in Westmere teacher Dorine Phelan’s class committed their time to running their own “toy store” in a main hallway of the school in order to raise money for the Middleburgh Central School in Schoharie County. The idea stemmed from the need to teach students about communities as part of their curriculum.
“I was thinking beyond knowing what your community is and what the physical part of the community is,” said Phelan. “What about being a good citizen within your community as well?”
While the storm hit some areas of the immediate Capital District hard, the damage was minimal compared to the destruction in parts of Schoharie County. Phelan reached out to parents during an open house in September and asked them if they had any connections to communities impacted by the storm. One parent, who works at Albany Medical Center, told Phelan that a coworker’s sister taught in Middleburgh.
That school suffered severe damage to its wood shop and technology center. Estimates are that the tech center alone sustained over $200,000 in damages.
“In this case, it was a financial need to replace things they had lost,” said Phelan.
She went back to her class and asked them how they could raise money.
“They came up with having a lemonade stand or a bake sale, because that’s their range of experience,” Phelan said. “Some kids said let’s have a garage sale. I thought about how we could do that in our school.”
At the same time, a used book sale was taking place at the school. Phelan and her students put all their ideas together and came up with the idea for a used toy sale.