St. Stanislaus Elementary students donated money last week to an orphanage in Poland.
Former Saint Mary's University student Ania McNamara was an orphan at Chotomow Orphanage in Poland when she was adopted by a Midwestern family. She now runs a charity, Chotomow Children's Foundation (CCF), to aid the orphans there. McNamara will be getting a little help this year from the students at St. Stanislaus Elementary School.
Polish orphanages are strained, McNamara says, and the kids are at risk for homelessness, drug abuse, and suicide. While the charity often provides necessities such as toothpaste and bedding, McNamara told St. Stanislaus students it might be fun to give the Chotomow kids a special treat: Easter baskets with candy and toys. St. Stanislaus students raised money for the baskets last week.
"We call it children helping children," said Joan Broadwater, a teacher at St. Stanislaus. The school's Polish heritage made helping Chotomow Orphanage especially meaningful.
When asked why the students were making gifts to the orphanage, student council president Abby Allen explained, "These kids don't have a very nice home. They don't have any family, and they need all the support they can get."
We are doing it "just so they know people care about them," student council vice president Tyler Nachtigal chimed in.
"Make a sacrifice to help someone else," read the sign next to the boxes into which students slipped bills and coins.
The students also competed for a chance at popsicles, extra recess time, and, the grand prize, being "principal for a day." Apparently being "principal for a day" does not carry all the same powers as the full time principal, but the winning student would be able to do things like pick the lunch menu and plan an event for the day.
When asked what they would do as principal, one of the students said, "I don't know. Have a really good lunch. Erbert's and Gerbert's for everyone!" Another said, "Fifteen minutes extra recess."
If the fundraiser goes well, St. Stanislaus students will be able to provide 68 orphans with Easter baskets and maybe get some extra playground time for themselves.
You can find more information on CCF, including how to donate, online at www.facebook.com/chotomowchildrensfoundation and ccfoundation.blogspot.com.