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Park Forest Elementary Class Collects Items for Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

by on November 10, 2012 11:55 AM

It’s been a hallmark of her teaching for the six years Liz Cullin has spent at Park Forest Elementary School. She encourages her students to read the newspaper, watch the news and hold discussions on current events. This time, when Hurricane Sandy dominated headlines, the fifth-grade class turned into a heated discussion.

“How do we help?” Cullin recalled her class asking. “We wanna do something.”

The class crafted a letter and sent it to parents and the school principal, who sent it out via email to the school’s list serv, asking for donation items to send to areas in need after the storm struck the East Coast last week.

Between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, the class collected more than 1,000 pounds of items. The response was overwhelming. A second email had to be sent out and between 3 and 7:30 p.m., an additional 730 pounds were collected for a total approaching a ton of items.

By the time collections were over, nearly every square inch of Cullin’s minivan was filled, she said.

Among the items collected were toothpaste, toothbrushes, clothing, toys, canned foods and toiletries.

“It’s something we try to instill in our children, trying to be problem-solvers, trying to participate in solutions and not just sit back and watch it happen,” Cullin said.

“Believing kids can make a difference is a philosophy, and our school has, over the years, embraced this philosophy that kids are capable. When you put kids to work, man, big things happen.”

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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