|Teacher Amy Flax (far right) and her fourth grade class pose with LOOSE CHANGE poster,|
collection jar, pencils and ziploc bags at Broadmeadow Elementary School.
(Susan Curtin/Hometown Weekly)
• Wed, Jan 15, 2014
The Needham project sprang from two fourth grade teachers, Amy Flax and Sue Nealon, who visited Peru last summer on a trip inspired by Wayland middle-school teacher Daniel Fernandez-Davila. Fernandez-Davila, who hails from Peru, returns each June and treks by horseback to isolated villages – so remote they lack electricity — bringing badly needed supplies (books, pencils, paper, and even construction materials) to help build and provide classroom basics to children there.
When the Meadowbrook teachers saw for themselves the good work being accomplished, they felt compelled to launch a complimentary project in Needham to educate their students about Peru, and provide a service experience, too.
Their project captured the imagination of their fellow fourth grade teachers at Broadmeadow. “Jessica Ohly, Karen Hwang and Heidi Smith were immediately on board and got excited about the project. Our principal Emily Baberman enthusiastically supported us,” explained Flax. “So we went to work.”
The teachers invited Fernandez-Davila to Broadmeadow who gave a presentation to the entire fourth grade. The story of how few school supplies their Peruvian contemporaries had to work with resonated with the kids. In late November, they began labelling collection jars, making posters and going classroom-to-classroom to explain the project and their goal: to send supplies back to Peru by collecting loose change. Students went home with plastic Ziploc bags that said “Loose Change” and as a result, “the money is pouring in!”
The Needham Bank stepped up, too, allowing the teachers to use their change-sorting machines for free. Special education teacher Cathy Lunetta brings pounds of change to the bank each week to turn it into cash for Mr. Fernandez-Davila, who purchases the needed materials. “The Needham Bank has been so generous and kind to us,” explained Flax.
The fundraising efforts run until February 14. For more information about Loose Change, check out the website hatunruna.org. To contribute, contact someone you know at Broadmeadow School, or mail a check to Loose Change c/o Antonia Hieronymus, 15 Reservoir Road, Wayland, MA 01778, and you will receive a receipt with the tax deductible information.
— Hometown Weekly Correspondent