Wallace students use art to raise money for hurricane relief

Wallace students use art to raise money for hurricane relief
Wallace students use art to raise money for hurricane relief

            Three students at Wallace Elementary School of Integrated Arts organized a campaign to help children and young adults impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

            When two back-to-back hurricanes wreaked havoc on Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean, Wallace 5th-grader Mailee Pearl Sewell knew she wanted to help.

            “I am very scared of storms, and I know hundreds of kids are just like me,” Mailee said. “I wanted them to have a normal life after the hurricanes, and not constantly be reminded of the storms.”

            Mailee enlisted the help of her friends, Samantha McClelland and Aviannah Pollard, to organize a Wallace fundraiser. The three Wallace students penned a letter to Principal Charley Hinkle requesting permission to host a food drive to help with hurricane relief. After meeting with Mr. Hinkle, though, the students realized that people living in the storm-ravaged areas will need help for months, if not years, to come… as other forms of aid disappear.

            That’s when the Wallace trio had the idea to adopt a classroom in Texas and a classroom in the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide help throughout the school year. Aviannah’s mom helped the Wallace students find a classroom to adopt in Texas – a class at Northside High School in the Houston Independent School District… which serves 213,000 students in 283 schools across 300 square miles.

            “Right now the class we adopted needs snacks and school supplies… everything really,” Mailee said. “So much was destroyed.”

            Since Mailee, Aviannah, and Samantha attend an Integrated Arts school, they decided to incorporate art into their fundraiser. Wallace was invited to perform a dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at the October First Friday (Oct. 6th), so the students, with permission from Mr. Hinkle, held an art sale and auction during their performance at Superior V in Kokomo.

            Community members were able to purchase a small piece of art with positive and encouraging messages, handmade by Wallace students, for $5, and place bids (in a silent auction) for one of the larger pieces of art created by each class at Wallace.

            “The money raised helped us buy school supplies and other things for our adopted classrooms.”

            Mailee noted that she and her friends wanted to make a small difference in the lives of hurricane victims.

            “Every child deserves an appropriate education, and it’s difficult to receive that education when everything you need has been destroyed,” Mailee concluded. “… Really, we just wanted to help. It meant a great deal to us to make sure that people return to the life they deserve.”

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