11 Jan

Students reach out to kids in Tanzania

first_imgNEWHALL – A trip to the tax man led Jody Liss-Monteleone all the way to Africa. Liss-Monteleone never got on a plane or a boat to cross the Atlantic – her journey was a spiritual one. “My tax man told me his daughter was in Tanzania, and she was receiving donations for the orphanage she was working with,” Liss-Monteleone said. As the conversation continued, the Placerita Junior High School counselor became more and more touched by the stories of these children’s needs. Most of their parents had died of AIDS, and most relatives who weren’t infected were too poor to care for the youths. Liss-Monteleone immediately thought of her students at Placerita, a culturally and economically diverse school, and decided to hold a drive for school supplies. “We want our kids to become caring individuals and to learn how to help others less fortunate than ourselves,” she said. “Placerita has a very wealthy area and a very poor one, but I thought if everyone brings in $1 worth of supplies, we can do this.” Posting pictures of the kids at the orphanage and dropping off clear bins in first-period classrooms, she hoped kids would respond. But Liss-Monteleone quickly saw the empty bins fill up with markers and folders, pencils, pens and glue. “At first I was a little worried, but wow! This exceeded my expectations.” Anthony Fernandez, an eighth-grader, said the project was touching to him because it let him affect the lives of children thousands of miles away. “Some of these people don’t even have houses, but if they have supplies to get them an education, then they can have a better future,” Fernandez said. For seventh-grade English teacher Cheryl McCall, it was a nice way to remind her kids about the gift of giving. “We clapped every time someone brought in some supplies to celebrate giving,” McCall said. “It’s nice, kids care.” [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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