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Corvallis students are raising 'Change for Children' in Ukraine

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CHS raising “Change for Children” in Ukraine

Corvallis High School students Caitlin Nelson, Farah Wyche, Chase Tucker, Madison Henry and Belle Harvey hold collection jars, posters and fliers about donating "Change for Children" to make a difference in the lives of children in Ukraine.

Students at Corvallis High School are raising funds for Ukraine with “Change for Children,” a three-week coin challenge, as a way to help students on the other side of the world.

Educator Laura Carrasco said student leaders from many groups and many grades spontaneously joined together for the effort.

“I think when the war began a few weeks ago a couple of teachers and students showed alarm and were super concerned,” Carrasco. “Even in my class the day it started, every single class asked, ‘What does this mean?’ ‘Why is this happening?’ It’s on social media and kids are on social media so they are very aware of what is going on over there.”

She said since her students were scared and worried, she talked with them about the humanitarian crisis that is coming out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where lives are disrupted and over two million women and children have fled the country.

“We felt as teachers, we needed to give kids an avenue to help,” Carrasco said. “This is one of those teachable moments. There is something you can do to help people, even if they are on the other side of the globe. I think that makes kids feel they are more in control over situations.

“The kids also see that the Ukrainians were living just like us, living in a democracy, with jobs and school, houses in suburbs, it doesn’t look different and now their lives are completely torn up,” she said.

To help the people impacted by the war in Ukraine, and to help the students, Corvallis educators met with concerned students of all grades and talked about options for helping.

“This group of kids had never heard of Pennies for Peace because it was so long ago,” Carrasco said. “Twenty years ago, that was something used to help build schools in Pakistan. It was effective so we suggested it.”

Carrasco said the students agreed to donate the Change for Children collected to UNICEF as it is an established method of getting funds to Ukraine.

UNICEF is on the ground in Ukraine and according to their website (unicefusa.org) “every 100% tax-deductible donation will help UNICEF ensure that Ukraine's children have access to safe water, nutrition, health care, education and protection.”

“They need blankets, they need everything, but trying to send supplies is complicated because it is a war zone,” Carrasco said. “Kids brought that up, so we sought a quicker, faster, easier way. UNICEF is for children, and you can donate specifically to Ukrainian children and UNICEF can buy supplies.”

The coin collection challenge started March 14 and will end April 8.

“We have spring break in there, so we went longer,” Carrasco said. “We wanted something for the kids to see the importance and to create enthusiasm. They set a competition aspect to it. The class that wins will have a week of early lunches.”

Corvallis educators are also participating.

Students can collect donations from outside of school and put them in their jars.

“The money can come from anywhere so if people are looking for a way to help the children of Ukraine, they can have a kid from Corvallis bring their money in,” Carrasco said. “They can stop by and have Holly put it in their kids’ class jar. Or they can put it in the teacher’s bin, and if the teachers win maybe no one will have early lunches. I don’t know.”

The first week’s results were just a start. The sophomore class had brought in the most money at $146.18, freshman — $114.03, educators — $36.87, juniors — $$32.39 and seniors — $6.16.

Freshman Farah Wyche and Caitlin Nelson said the Change for Children collection makes a positive difference.

“What we are doing at school to raise money and help kids become aware of what is going on in Ukraine is important,” Wyche said. “I think it is a good fundraiser and great for the school.”

Nelson agreed.

“I’m glad that we’re helping to raise money for the good cause of helping kids over there since we are not affected here right now,” she said.

“I’m really proud of all the students,” Carrasco said. “The kids were really interested and willing. We want to raise citizens who are compassionate. It matters.”

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