Irvine students and staff organizing local efforts to raise money for Japan relief

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that battered northeastern Japan, students and staff from throughout the Irvine Unified School District have been organizing local relief efforts.

Some campuses have been selling T-shirts, bracelets or baked goods, directing proceeds to the Red Cross and other aid organizations. Others are connecting with the nonprofit group Team Kids, which regularly works with Irvine schools to facilitate serving-learning projects.

“Once again, our students and staff are stepping up in a big way to assist those in need,” Superintendent Gwen Gross said this week.

“Whenever there has been a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, our schools have answered the call by organizing site-based relief efforts, and our families have in turn responded by generously opening their hearts and their pocketbooks,” Dr. Gross said. “While we wish these latest efforts weren’t necessary, we are proud that our students and employees are volunteering their time and resources.”

Here are just a few examples of what local schools have been doing to help:

Alderwood held a “Jammies for Japan” fundraiser on Friday, March 25. As reported during Fox 11’s morning broadcast of “Good Day L.A.,” students were allowed to wear their pajamas to school and they were encouraged to bring donations for Japanese relief efforts. Proceeds were sent to the Red Cross. (Click here to watch the news coverage.)

Canyon View’s student council voted this week to join the Kids Who Care Foundation in collecting supplies to help children in Japan. Founded in 2004 by IUSD student Risha Shukla, the Kids Who Care Foundation brings cheer and support to children with serious medical issues. Canyon View’s drive, which will coincide with parent conference week from March 28 through April 1, will focus on collecting socks and slippers, books and toys and school supplies.

Culverdale’s student council sponsored an after-school bake sale on Friday, March 25, with proceeds benefiting the Red Cross’s relief efforts in Japan. All baked goods were sold for $1, and personal donations were accepted as well. In addition, specially designed “Culverdale Cares” T-shirts were sold for $10.  (You can view the shirt’s design by clicking here.)

Deerfield was already working with Team Kids on a four-week service-learning project when the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. Following the tragedy, the school’s fifth- and sixth-grade Leadership Team – which includes about 70 students – agreed to send 100 percent of the proceeds from an upcoming school carnival to benefit relief efforts through the Red Cross. Deerfield’s carnival was held Friday, March 25.

Fourth-graders Karina Seth, Christine Park, Logan Mintz-Hernandez and Caitlin Vang have organized a bake sale to raise money for Red Cross relief efforts in Japan. All four are students in Mrs. Naramore’s class, which is baking goods at home and bringing them to school. “Together, this fourth-grade class is learning that everyone can make a difference,” says Naramore. “All you have to do is try.”

Lakeside’s student government is sponsoring an “Aid Japan” relief drive through the school’s advisement classes. “Each advisor is collecting donations, and Lakeside’s ASB will match those donations up to $2,000. We are almost there,” says Principal Gina Cuneo. Students from several advisement courses are also embracing this month’s core ethical value, “cooperation,” by selling friendship bracelets, healthy snacks and special vouchers that enable students to watch a movie over the course of two lunches and silent reading periods. All proceeds will benefit the Red Cross. For more information, click here.

Parents and students hosted a bake sale on Wednesday, March 23, and they’ll continue to collect donations to aid the relief effort, says Principal Heather Phillips.

Springbrook’s student council worked closely with Team Kids to establish local “LemonAID” stands to raise money for the relief effort.

Based on an idea from students, Stone Creek Elementary held a fundraiser and spare-change drive that raised more than $1,800. Stone Creek also asked students and parents to meet in the school’s multipurpose room on the afternoon of March 30 to help fold 1,000 origami cranes, which will be delivered to an elementary school in Sendai in northern Japan. According to an ancient Japanese legend, those who fold a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish.

Turtle Rock collected a total of $3,769.65 in classroom donations for the American Red Cross, and some of the school’s Japanese American families organized a bake sale from March 21-23 that netted an additional $2,200.

U.P. also plans to hold a “Jammies for Japan” fundraiser, only it will do so on April 1. In addition to bringing a donation for the Red Cross, students will be permitted to wear their pajamas to school.

Vista Verde and Team Kids are hosting a “LemonAid Stand” at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30 in the front of school. Lemonade and baked goods will be for sale, with the proceeds to benefit Japan relief efforts. In addition, Vista Verde’s student government is holding a shoe drive. 

Working with Team Kids, the local service-learning organization, Woodbridge students sold baked goods and lemonade during its recent “LemonAID” fundraiser, netting approximately $4,000. The Orange County Register covered the event and posted photos here.

For more information on how your school can lend a hand, or to learn more about service-learning opportunities within IUSD, click here.