Wentworth third and fourth graders, from left are, Sophie Kelly, Madison Bailey, Ryan Collins, Payton Cloutier, Natalie Brook, and Jackson Deering, who, along with the rest of their class, created posters and fact sheets about Australian animals to spread awareness about the fires that are harming these creatures’ homes. Catherine Bart/Leader

SCARBOROUGH — With a goal of $500, a combined class of third and fourth graders at Wentworth School are fundraising to help fight the Australian fires and spread awareness.

Each day during lunch, the class, taught by Janeen Chin, has been collecting coin donations to go towards the Koala Hospital and firefighters. Besides the fundraising, the students created posters and paper tents, featuring information about different Australian animals, said Chin.

Three students in particular — Madison Bailey, Ryan Collins, and Jackson Deering — wanted to figure out how they could do something to help. “In different ways,” said Chin, the students went to her to get an idea going.

“We decided to start a fundraiser for Australia because when we found out what was happening, we decided to help another continent by raising money so they can get supplies for the animals and for themselves,” said Madison.

“We thought by helping another continent, it would be a great favor,” added Jackson.

A class of Wentworth third and fourth graders created a fundraiser to assist the Australian fires that have harmed the ecosystem and wildlife. The students created informational posters about some native animals and accepted coin donations, with a goal of $500, each day during lunch. Catherine Bart/Leader

When she learned about the fires, Madison said, she felt like there must be something she could do, so she approached her mother, Sarah Bailey.


“She was like, ‘Oh, well maybe we can start something, and I can ask your teacher,'” she said.

The three students said that they feel like they’re making a real difference.

“I’ve been impressed with their passion, teamwork, and of all things, they’ve learned about these animals,” said Chin. “Fires can be scary, so I was sorting out how we could bring this out to our kids without them being scared.”

Madison’s mother expressed pride in her daughter’s initiative as well as the rest of her class.

“Madison has always been interested in our global community and the impact that we can have on it,” she said in an email. “As a parent and member of the community it is nice to know that empathy is being taught. To think that these students took an interest in a region that is more than 10,000 miles away is applaudable. While the news has moved on to other stories, these students still believe that this is worth learning about. Ms. Chin has allowed movement in her curriculum to allow for a teachable moment. The students have been able to drive the learning. An experience that will prove to be invaluable.”

The students have been collecting coin donations each day during the week of March 2. With each donation, the students hand out a bookmark as an expression of gratitude.

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