“Monroe stands by YOU!” is the message on the banner Park Place Middle School students made for the Fire Hall in Oso where rescue workers meet each morning before their arduous efforts begin in the devastated area. The staff and students of Monroe’s public schools have stepped up to help as the area attempts to recover from last month’s mudslide.
Dollars, school supplies, and even freshly baked pies have been gathered to help the town of Oso and the neighboring communities of Darrington and Arlington.
Kimberly Hornbacher, a teacher at Park Place Middle School, showed news clips of the Oso disaster in her classes. Her students wanted to help so researched the Red Cross needs.
“My leadership students contacted the other schools in Snohomish County to see if they wanted to participate as a countywide effort,” Hornbacher explained. More than 20 other ASB and leadership classes were interested, and their joint coin and cash drive was held the next day. With only one day’s notice, they were able to raise over $1,500 for the town of Oso.
Frank Wagner Elementary School’s PTA also ran a fundraiser, and Monroe High School is running a supply drive. Maltby Elementary School’s PTO and ASB are running a joint funding drive, and teacher Debra Hatcher has already brought 14 pies to the rescue workers at the site of the mudslide. Volunteers with the Monroe Public Schools Foundation filled backpacks with school supplies for affected school children.
Salem Woods Elementary School’s PTA also did a very successful coin drive. While the bank is still totaling the coins, they received more than $600 in bills and checks alone, and completely filled a large water jar with coins. PTA board member Krista Leitch noted, “Some children were bringing their piggy banks from home and emptying them into the jar.”
Leitch added, “There were people from the community who don’t have kids at our school, people totally unaffiliated with the school, who came by to donate.”
At Sky Valley Education Center, office manager Jeanette Liebelt was pleased with what they had achieved within such a short time period. “Our cafe donated all of the proceeds prior to spring break and came up with almost $1,800,” she said. Teacher Debbie Edwards collected food, clothing, crayons and books from students in her business and community service classes.
Countywide, 5th graders participating in the Gear Up and Go initiative of the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition are donating portions of their “Squoins,” up to $10,000, to help the towns affected by the disaster. Squoins are virtual currency that students can earn for recording physical activity with PowerPod devices. For every school with students outfitting their online persona with SnoCoUNITED shirt, the Leadership Coalition will donate $100 to the relief efforts. The cash is greatly needed but even more so is the support the 5th graders in affected area will see that they have from the entire county.
The superintendent of Darrington, Dave Holmer, noted that the tragedy is hitting his students in different ways. While the high school students have been actively helping with disaster relief, “the younger kids have less they can do.”
“If kids in Arlington and Darrington are aware that students across the county are backing them up…that they’re part of something bigger… that would be meaningful.”