THOMASTON, Ga. — Students at Thomaston-Upson Primary School raised $4,500 to help Ukrainian refugees - and it only took them 9 school days.
Their first-grade teacher, Mrs. Crista Stubbs said it all started when she realized many of her students were worried or had misconceptions about the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
That lesson made students want to help those involved. They initially wanted to send letters but knew the language barrier would be an issue.
"So I kind of encourage them to think about a donation jar like making a donation," Stubbs said.
She said they made a display with sunflowers that gave many facts about Ukraine that they learned in class.
The first goal was $200.
"I didn't think we would reach that, but we received $200 within 24 hours and the children kept wanting to raise their goal because the goals are being met so fast," Stubbs said.
From there they kept hitting their goal, from $500, to $1,000 to $1,500 - the money kept coming.
After 9 days of fundraising, the students raised $4,500. Stubbs said she also thanks local radio station Fun 101.1 for bringing the students to the Bill Bailey Morning Show.
"The kids basically explained to the community what was going on in Ukraine in their appropriate, you know, first grade way," Stubbs said.
She added: "It became like a school-wide effort like children were putting their ice cream money in the donation jar and bringing pennies from home. And then community members started coming back to school and leaving money at the front desk, and it just became more of a community effort."
Some students joined Stubbs at the bank yesterday to make the final deposit, and Friday morning the class submitted the money to the International Justice Mission, an organization focused on human rights, currently working to help Ukrainian refugees.
"And then we all, just this morning pulled the website up and we kind of all pushed the button together to donate the money," Stubs said.
Through this process, Stubbs was able to teach students so much about international affairs, counting coins, fundraising and even marketing.
"I think they taught me that. Even at their age, the determination and the willingness to do good for other people it's just within them," Stubbs said. "And even little ones their age can make a big difference."