Canarsie kids open hearts and wallets for Haiti

Public school students in Canarsie are making a difference in the lives of Haitians – one piece of construction paper at a time.

I.S. 68, located at 956 East 82nd Street, is selling maps of Haiti to students, staffers and parents to raise money for relief efforts. So far, the school has sold about 80 maps and collected more than $900 for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

“Everything we did is because the students needed to do something to help,” explained Ivie Bien-Aime, the school’s parent coordinator.

After purchasing a map, which comes in different sizes and colors for $1 to $10, the buyer may decorate it however he or she sees fit.

“You write a prayer or a thought,” Bien-Aime said. “Some people colored the map. some people added sequins and decorated the map. It became a work of art.”

The maps are then displayed in I.S. 68.

The creative fundraiser is particularly important to I.S. 68, since many students have family in Haiti.

“The school is highly populated by students of Haitian descent and students directly from Haiti,” Bien-Aime said. “Some of them have lost family members.”

By participating in the fundraiser, students are coping with the tragedy in Haiti.

“Many of the students came to school still in shock. They were distraught because their own families were affected,” Bien-Aime recalled. “We had to give them something to contribute to because they felt helpless. This was their way to contribute to what the rest of the world was doing.”

“I still feel sad but I want to help,” said seventh-grader Saraphina Joseph.

“It’s important to help because some of the people don’t have much down there,” agreed Joseph’s classmate Laetitia Sainjean.

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