The British School of Houston has a very special science teacher whose idea of a merry Christmas includes giving lots of presents to families in need so they can experience the joy too. For the fourth year in a row, she has inspired her students to raise thousands of dollars — this year, more than $7,000 — to provide a merry Christmas to less fortunate families in the Houston area.
And they don’t stop there…
This year, Miss Clark and her students set out to raise about $600 per family. Their initial efforts raised over $5,600 and helped eight families. The families received a fleece jacket for each member, a gift for every adult and two gifts for every child. Each family also received a 100-dollar food gift voucher and household supplies, including plates, glasses, cutlery, toasters, blenders, sandwich makers, blankets, sleeping bags and heaters.
Unlike so many school fund-raising activities where parents are solicited for time, resources and funds, this project was fully funded by student activities. Students also accompanied Miss Jones and Miss Clark to the stores to select the gifts and supplies for the families.
But the BSH students didn’t stop there. They raised an additional $1,200 for Fiesta and Walmart food vouchers which helped a further 12 families. As if this wasn’t enough, members of the Year 11 class raised a further $350 for homeless children living in the Salvation Army Mission. The money was used to buy infant toys and gifts for teenagers.
The students helped to wrap all of the presents in their free time — this year there were over 400 to wrap. Then a delegate from each grade accompanied Miss Clark or another member of staff, to deliver the presents. The students were able to see just how much they help and how badly help is needed by so many. “My students are so philanthropic and have done so much yet again to help those less fortunate than themselves at Christmastime,” said Miss Clark. Students are already planning new fund-raising activities for next year.
“They are an inspiration to me,” says Miss Clark of her group of students. Working with Carol Jones, another British Teacher who coordinated the fund-raising activities, the students planned hot dog sales, bake sales and car washes.
Soon after arriving at the British School in Houston in 2002, Janaquin Clark began involving her students in her volunteer work. Her church, Chapplewood, runs the Manna Project which helps families from the Springbranch Family Development Centre. The centre helps impoverished families with food, clothes, furniture, utility bills, education and childcare.