It’s not every day that elementary schoolers choose a service project over recess.
Instead of going outside to play, fifth graders at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy stayed inside on Wednesday, Sept. 25, to pack dozens of hygiene bags for Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas.
“We’d rather do this than recess,” Averie Allen, a fifth grader at Enota, said. “I hope this helps them a lot so they can just feel better. A lot of them probably haven’t gotten to have any toothbrushes or things to clean themselves since the hurricane.”
Funmi Mosley, a fifth grade teacher at Enota, said a couple of her students came up with the idea to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian during one of the school’s morning meetings.
Students and teachers use this time to discuss essential skills like kindness, humility and bearing in mind everyone’s personal struggles.
Mosley said her class touched on the topic of “treating others the way you want to be treated.” She asked the students, “Who do we need to take care of?”
Several of them brought up those in the Bahamas who lost loved ones, homes and valuable possessions because of Hurricane Dorian.
One by one, Mosley said the students began to express their concerns for those hurt by the disaster.
“With as many struggles they have in their daily lives, they just want to take care of everybody,” Mosley said. “It’s so sweet to see that they have the heart to take care of people they’ll never meet and show them that they’re loved.”
After receiving a consensus from the class about finding a way to help the hurricane victims, Mosley reached out to one of her friends who has conducted mission trips in the Bahamas. Her friend recommended putting together hygiene packs to send out via a cruise line that transports supplies to the Bahamas.
Once Mosley’s class developed a plan, word caught on and the rest of the school’s fifth grade decided to jump on board.
Wesley Roach, principal at Enota, said he was thrilled to hear about the fifth graders’ project.
“It’s an important experience for our kids to have an opportunity to be involved in community service and in this case, global service,” Roach said. “That’s a big part of them developing into responsible members of our community.”
All of the supplies were gathered from teachers and parents of the students involved. They collected tooth brushes, wet wipes, wash cloths and other hygiene items.
By the end of the week, Mosley said the fifth grade hopes to have put together over 100 bags.
Hautfadi Nyembue, a fifth grader at Enota, said when he heard about people losing their homes because of the hurricane, he felt like crying.
“I’ve been to the Bahamas before Hurricane Dorian and it was very pretty, but now it’s not,” he said.
Nyembue, along with the other fifth graders, wrote notes to put inside each hygiene bag.
“We would say that we’re sorry for what happened there,” Nyembue said. “We want to encourage them to not give up and keep on going and living.”
In a world where many people tend to focus on themselves, Mosley said she finds it refreshing to see a younger generation feeling empowered to help others.
“Those are essential skills that not every adult has, but every adult should have,” she said. “My job as a teacher is to make sure they know academics and teach them to be good citizens. Sometimes that’s more important to me rather than getting an A. I think that all the teachers at Enota are big on essential skills and making sure they excel in every area of their character.”