Danielle Dahl, the Jobs for America's Graduates teacher at Cassopolis High School, helps students with their commercial for the Haiti relief drive at the school. Students from left: Sebastian Westphal, Kelsey Kantz and Faulnesa Cooper. (Vigilant photo/AARON MUELLER)
Danielle Dahl, the Jobs for America's Graduates teacher at Cassopolis High School, helps students with their commercial for the Haiti relief drive at the school. Students from left: Sebastian Westphal, Kelsey Kantz and Faulnesa Cooper. (Vigilant photo/AARON MUELLER)

Archived Story

Ross Beatty students to help aid Haiti relief

Published 3:07pm Thursday, January 21, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Cassopolis Vigilant

Reese Ellison was watching television last week when the news broke about the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti. She saw the heart-wrenching images of people dying of disease and hunger, and she knew she had to do something.

“I was watching TV and what got me was when they said half the population was teens,” Ellison said. “And I thought, ‘we have to do something about this.’ It’s people our age suffering. If it was us, I think they would help.”

So Ellison, a sophomore at Ross-Beatty High School, approached her Jobs for America’s Graduates teacher, Danielle Dahl, with an idea to help the people of Haiti.

Dahl’s two JAG classes have teamed up to start a relief drive to help the victims of the earthquake.

The classes will be collecting non-perishable food, gently used or new clothing, medical supplies, hygiene products and monetary donations.

Drop-off locations are in the offices of Sam Adams Elementary, Squires Elementary and Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School in Cassopolis. All items collected will be given to the Salvation Army and sent to the relief effort in Haiti.

The drive will start Jan. 21 and end Feb. 4.

Dahl says it has been fun to watch her classes plan the entire project.

“I can’t express how proud of them I am,” she said. “The fact that not only was it their idea, but they’re completely following through on it. It’s just me making sure they stay focused and coordinated. Other than that, they do everything. They are writing newsletters, flyers, doing the phone calling. From the ground up, it’s all them.”

Ellison hopes that not only students make donations but adults in the community help out as well.

“If you have heart, come out and help us,” she said. “I mean, we’re kids, so I think adults can come out and help us out as well.”

Authorities in Haiti are now estimating the death toll in Haiti to be 200,000, which would make the disaster one of the deadliest ever. Estimates are that more than 1.5 million people are homeless in the country.

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