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Second grader starts fundraiser for Japan

In the wake of a devastating earthquake in Japan, a second grade student at Henry Johnson Charter School in Albany felt compelled to help those who have been affected.

What made me want to help the people of Japan after the earthquake was when I saw it, it made me feel bad, said Nick Koopman, 7. "I decided to write a letter that asks everybody to donate and get money to give to Japan."

The school pulled together and donated a total of $525 to the American Red Cross Relief Fund for Japan. Tim Wade, a volunteer for the Red Cross, came by this morning to accept the check during an 8:30 a.m. assembly. Koopman said he was nervous at first about not being able to raise much money. But after seeing the money roll in, his worries were laid to rest.

"When I found out we raised the money, I knew kids at Henry Johnson care about people in need," he said.

His teacher, Natalie Brown, said while Koopman only asked people to donate $1 each, some teachers would donate $50 to $100.

"A lot of kids donated more than what was asked," she said.

Brown makes sure to include current events such as natural disasters in her daily teaching. She said she likes to teach them about things other than just what is inside a math or a science text book.

"Whenever a major event or a major disaster happens, I like to bring it into the classroom to make the kids aware," she said. "They're not coming to school just for a fundamental education, they also need to know what's going on in the world."

The class watched videos on YouTube from the aftermath created by the earthquake and tsunami to show what kind of impact these natural disasters can have. Brown said this was not the first time she had educated her students on incidents like this. But when Koopman showed up the next day with a letter asking for his fellow classmates to donate money, she was surprised.

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