Friday, February 4, 2011

Local second-grade class (and their teddy) help raise money for Catholic Charities

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Even if Christmas is the prime time for celebrating the spirit of giving, at Catholic Charities we recognize that "giving" is a year-round event--and a very hands-on process.  And many of our youngest supporters agree.

Case in point: Mary Martin's truly impressive second-grade class at Our Lady of Mercy School in Potomac, Md. Ms. Martin has spent the past 15 years teaching kids that giving is way more important than getting. "Students and teachers don't exchange gifts here at Christmas," she said.  "We ask for donations to Catholic Charities instead."

For example, rather than teaching her kids to focus on writing to Santa with litanies of requests for the newest toys, Ms. Martin gently tells her class that they're going to sacrifice a small present and give up some of their recess time to help others less fortunate than themselves. This year Ms. Martin bought an oversized stuffed teddy (check out the picture) and told her class that they would spend recess sitting in the lobby of the school, selling "chances" for other students wanting to take a shot at winning the bear—and help others in the process by giving the money to Catholic Charities. "They get really excited when they learn they're really making a difference," Ms. Martin said.

And their sacrifices paid off: the 29 kids in Ms. Martin's class banded together and sold nearly $600 worth of tickets!  In a school of 230 students, that means most kids dug deep into their pockets and bought more than two tickets each to help benefit Catholic Charities. Some kids bought even more. "I'd say just about the whole school got involved," Ms. Martin explained. "Everyone pitched in."

Even parents showed their unwavering support--and often they got more excited than their kids did.  "It's very important to us to teach our children the spirit and importance of giving to others and sharing our blessings," one couple said.

"We try to stress the idea that service is very important--not just during the holiday season--but year-round, too," Ms. Martin added.  And while most of her kids admittedly weren't familiar with many of the programs Catholic Charities offers, they understood that they’re part of Catholic Charities’ work—to help others.

When a first-grader won the raffle this year, everyone cheered and clapped. Helping others who aren’t as blessed as we are is indeed an exciting, rewarding process.  It’s something we should all aspire to.

And Ms. Martin's done a great job teaching this important lesson.

Thank you to Mary Martin's second-grade class and the students at Our Lady of Mercy for your support for Catholic Charities!

Pictured (top right): First grader Haley Summers of Our Lady Of Mercy School poses proudly with the teddy bear she won at the second-grade auction to benefit Catholic Charities.