Many second-grade classes raise money for class trips or to help a local family in need, which are all great service learning projects.
But how many second-graders do you know who built a well halfway around the world?
That's what Laurie Taylor's class at Cox Mill Elementary School has accomplished.
"This year I was blessed with a little girl in my room who was adopted from Ethiopia," Taylor said. "Misrak Murphy told us stories about her life before coming to America. My students sat in amazement that someone their age had experienced so much.
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"Misrak lost both of her parents to the unclean (water) conditions she faced in Ethiopia. She reminded the kids about the day her mother died and how she wanted to help others not have to go through that.
"Carly Cassell sat with tears in her eyes and told the class that they had to do something" about the unclean water crisis in Ethopia, Taylor said. "She did not want anyone else's mother to die. She asked if she could send money to help build a well.
"Another child, Will Baldree, told everyone that we could all help and build a well. After persistence and a lot of talking, I decided that if the kids really wanted to do this, I had to help them out," Taylor said.
The students presented the idea to their parents Feb. 1. They chose that month because they wanted to show someone else love during the month when Valentine's Day occurs.
With the help of Misrak's family, a video was shown to the parents with ideas of how the children can help. The children made a chart tracking the various activities they could do to raise money, including selling lemonade, babysitting, washing dishes, giving up ice cream and doing extra chores around the house.
"The parents quickly got on board and supported us. Many teachers and parents agreed to match their students' contributions," Taylor said. "It was very important to the children that they earned the money and that they found resources to make this project work."
The cost to build one well is $5,000. After only two months of working hard and counting every day how much money they had, the class had raised $6,015.69.
"At the beginning of this projected, I truly expected my kids to maybe raise $500. The kids raised $500 in one week," Taylor said. "After just one week, other grade levels got involved, and lemonade stands popped up all around town. Students sold water bottles with special labels and even sold cookies at their parents' places of employment."
Now the kids are working on raising money for a second well.
"I want people to know that this happened because of the children and their compassion for others, not because I told them to," Taylor said. "Quite the opposite: They had to tell me to get on board.
"Many times we forget how powerful children can be when they have compassion and a purpose," she said.
For more information about the water crisis in Ethiopia and how you can help, go to www.waterislifeinternational.com.