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Eastwood students learn to give back

Eastwood Elementary students presented their earnings, over $4,000 in change, to Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity officials on Friday morning. Submitted photo

Eastwood Elementary School is teaching its students the importance of giving back to the community at an early age.

Since January, the students have been collecting change, and on Friday they presented their earnings – 24 buckets containing $4,326 in change – to Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity in the Eastwood Elementary gym.

The money will go toward building a home in West Fargo this summer for a single mother and her four children.

“This was an incredible undertaking by these students,” said Rob Rich, Habitat for Humanity’s executive director. “For a group of kids in fifth grade and younger, this is pretty great, and we can’t thank them enough for that.”

This is the organization’s first partnership with a Red River Valley school, and Rich hopes Eastwood Elementary is setting a blueprint that other schools will follow in the future.

“It really shows these young people the importance of community involvement,” Rich said. “Hopefully, they are able to see the change they are going to make in a family that may be just like theirs – a family kids just like them and their friends.”

The project was implemented to serve the school’s theme: “all kinds of kind.”

“They are serving and leading inside the school, and they need to work on serving their community too,” Eastwood Principal Paula Henry said. “We thought it would be a great thing to get the kids into. We are a change-maker school.”

According to Henry, the Eastwood students responded very positively to this venture.

“To them, it was about making a change in the world,” Henry said. “It is getting them ready to serve for the rest of their lives. Their success depends on how they help others succeed. With this, the students learned that ‘fair’ does not always mean ‘equal,’ and that some people need help more than others.”

The staff was also very excited to participate, donating and raising money of their own. Many of them even plan to help build the home this summer.

In accordance with the school, employees of Bell State Bank also donated $3,000 to this cause through their “Pay it Forward” program.

“It is all to help the students see that there is another community out there – who has helped them in the past – that they should want to help as well,” Henry said.

To further give to the community, Eastwood Elementary School is hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament on April 12 for kids from third grade to sixth grade. Teams can register until tomorrow for a $75 team fee. All of the proceeds of the tournament will go to Habitat for Humanity’s new home.