“We are very fortunate,” Ms. Young said. “It is important that we show our kids that many others are not and since we are able, we can help.”
Last year, the family sold items they weren’t using and donated the profits to Haven’s Gap which helps homeless children gain access to tutoring and recreation. This year, Ms. Young wanted to use the same method, but with a different beneficiary – St. Joseph Elementary School.
“There is no other place we would want our children to go to school in Battle Creek,” Ms. Young said. “It is a wonderful place with amazing, loving, and hardworking teachers and staff. Our project is just a tiny thank you from us.”
Ward and Rafferty picked which of their toys to sell.
“The kids were very excited to donate to their school,” Ms. Young said. “I think it gave them a stronger connection to where their money was going and got them very motivated to go through their things.”
Ward and Rafferty presented the money to their classes, each having raised $162.87.
Their teachers were genuinely surprised.
“To be so little and to want to donate so much was very generous,” preschool teacher Kelly. Francisco said. “[Rafferty] was so loving and showed the true meaning of what Christmas is all about. She let her light shine.”
|[l. to r.] St. Joseph Principal Sara Myers, preschool teacher Kelly Francisco, and Rafferty Smith.|
|[l. to r.] First-grade teacher Devin Dubois and Ward Smith|
First-grade teacher Devin Dubois was familiar with the family’s charity work, having had Ward in her kindergarten class last year.
“When they chose to give the funds from their toy donation to our class this year, I felt humbled,” Ms. Dubois said. “I think it is great that Ward's family has instilled the importance of giving back and it's so amazing to see this type of charity at such a young age.”
Their classmates were impressed.
“They were all very surprised that [Rafferty] was willing to sacrifice her toys,” Ms. Francisco said. “I think they were very proud of her and inspired by her as well.”
“The class was excited that Ward had decided to give the amount of money to our class to use for something,” Ms. Dubois said. “They were also thankful.”
Ms. Francisco hasn’t decided what to do with Rafferty’s gift yet. She is discussing options with her students, wanting it to be “fun and academic”.
Ms. Dubois class decided to buy new math manipulatives and library books.
“I can't wait to incorporate all our new items into the classroom,” Ms. Dubois said. “This truly couldn't have been done without Ward's family's support for our school and classroom.”
And how did these grade-school benefactors feel about their gifts?
“I was little embarrassed from all the attention but really happy we did it,” Ward said.
“It made me happy inside,” Rafferty said.
And it made all of us at BCACS happy, too!