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'Buddies' learn lesson in giving

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A buddy program between classrooms at Eastwood Elementary School is going a long way in supporting a great facility - the Ronald McDonald House at 1330 18th Ave. S. in Fargo.

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Fifth grade students of Joyce Brothen and second grade students of Becky Conyers paired up as 'buddies' for the 2007-08 year.

Among their goals was introducing students to the concept of giving back to the community and providing knowledge about the Ronald McDonald house and the service that it offers families.

Consequently, the culmination of their joint efforts was philanthropic in nature - an actual visit to the Ronald McDonald House Thursday, May 1, to donate collected arts and crafts items for the children staying there.

Students were so receptive to the project, that they collected approximately 18 medium sized plastic storage containers full of items to donate during the past couple of months.

Second graders involved were: Gabrielle Anderson, Henry Arntson, Alfred Beamon, Lauren Limke, Noah Oien, Tate Pearson, Saipriya Potluri, Colton Reisenauer, Jacob Faircloth, Jackson Haug, Nelson Soro, Mariah Heise, Alexia Hoefs, Lauren Huseby, Zachary Westphal, Diana James, Kaitlynn Johnson and Dena Kayali.

Fifth graders included: Samuel Arntson, Mauricio Castillo, Jesse Christensen, Destiny Fuka, Olivia Gravel, Hannah Heikkila, Selmir Hokic, Robert House, Adam Idso, Lane Ingram, Merima Kocic, Kennedy Kraft, Izik Larson, Jordan Martinez, Brittany Nathan, Jaci Oye, Cassy Peltier, Alyssa Perojo, Sam Sandy, Emily Schmidt, Alex Spielvogel, Jadyn Thomas, Lily Vraa and Marcus Wohl.

Brothen said that the classes had talked with each other about what to expect when they visited the Ronald McDonald House and what it would be like to have to cover the expense of housing for an extended period of time during a family members hospital stay. She said the visit was "a real learning experience and the students were excited to be able to help" when they saw firsthand that it was a facility that housed families, some for long periods of time, during the illness of a loved one, providing comfort and companionship. "It was really an excellent experience for both the adults and kids who attended," Brothen added. "It really brought home to the kids what it's like to be in such a living arrangement."

The students also worked on making welcome bags for families and toured the facility during their visit.

Brothen and Conyers intend to implement a 'buddy' program again next year involving their students. "Hopefully, this will eventually turn into something we'll do annually," Brothen said.

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