Relief for Haiti
January 27, 2010
By Chloe Freed
Upper Class of 2011
Lower Campus students show evidence of the generosity of their fellow students.
Ojai Valley School students on both the Upper and Lower campuses have collectively raised more than $2,000 to help Haitians who are suffering from one of the worst disasters in modern history.
Students at the Lower Campus are doing more than just sending money to victims of Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, which left more than 150,000 people dead, nearly 200,000 injured and 1.5 million people homeless.
Lower School students are in the midst of a food drive that will end January 29.
The school is working with Lime Aid, a non-profit organization established in 2008 to support two orphanages in Haiti.
On Friday, food staples from various locations across the region will be packaged and transported to Miami, where they will be shipped to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The supplies will be distributed to the ANA Children’s Center and the Brebis de Saint Michelle Orphanage, and be made available to surrounding communities.
In addition to collecting food for those orphanages, all student council members walked to Vons this week to purchase food to contribute to disaster victims. This hands-on experience made it all the more special for those who are giving.
“I figure, this way, they hold in their hands food that some Haitian will eat in the coming weeks,” said OVS history teacher John Rowan, who serves as the Lower School’s student council advisor.
Upper School Librarian Merilee Allen helps collect cash generated during a week of bake sales.
Lower is also raising money for the cause. A donation “change jar” has been placed outside the office of Assistant Headmaster Gary Gartrell. The Student Council has agreed to match, up to $500, whatever money is raised through donations.
“Global events and natural disasters can leave us feeling hopeless and unable to give a hand to those affected,” Mr. Rowan said. “Through fund raising and food drives, and raising awareness, we are reaching out to our neighbors in Haiti to lend a hand and encourage them to work together to survive this terrible catastrophe.”
The Upper Campus is doing its share as well.
When news of the earthquake hit, Upper School Student Council President Betty Chen called an emergency session to discuss what students could do to help. They came up with the idea of a weeklong bake sale.
Parents and faculty members baked everything from fudge to muffins so students could have yummy treats all week and donate money to the cause.
“Despite very difficult weather conditions, the faculty and students have rallied for the cause to help others who have been devastated by the earthquake and I’m proud to be a part of this school community,” said Upper School Librarian Merilee Allen, who sold cakes in the poor weather all week.
Other efforts have included junior Ryland Stevenson taking his guitar to downtown Ojai and strumming for cash. He raised $18 for earthquake victims. Junior Ryan Skolnick collected clothing and other items for the relief effort.
In addition, the Upper School student body overwhelmingly voted to once a week forego the main course at lunch (only soup and salad will be served) and pass along the savings to the Haitian relief effort.
Students have been the biggest contributors. In the boys’ dorm, junior Student Council representatives Amit Pandya and Alex Alvirez went door-to-door through the dorm during study hall asking for donations.
“I’m really proud of the guy’s dorm for stepping up and being so generous,” said Amit, noting that the boys collected $260 in one evening.
The girls’ dorm followed suit. Girls gathered $39.52 in change and $327 in cash for a grand total of $366.52.
Through the bake sale and generous donations from students, faculty and parents, the Upper Campus raised $1,629 in one week. All the money will be donated to the American Red Cross and earmarked to help the people in Haiti.
“Change for change makes a difference,” Alex said. “And that is exactly what we aim to do.”
To join the relief effort, go to the American Red Cross
or Lime Aid
to make a financial contribution.