LIHUE — As the fourth graders of Wilcox Elementary School listened to stories of people helping others, they decided to help their community by supporting the Kauai Humane Society.
“I was amazed and touched by their willingness to give because it’s all so different in the generations we have,” teacher Alicia Miyashiro said. “I was teary-eyed.”
As Miyashiro taught the students about the gift of giving, the students began to ask themselves if there were ways they could contribute to their community. As they brainstormed on different organizations they could help, a majority of the children voted on the Kauai Humane Society.
They created a donation jar entitled “time for change,” with the words “kids can make a difference” at the bottom.
“I’ve been teaching for 24 years and I’ve never had a class that, on their own, recommended this idea to me,” Miyashiro said. “I’ve offered it to kids but this is the first time it came from them.”
The kids began filling the jar in October with loose change they could find. Students and staff from other grades learned about the jar and gave their change as well.
In May, the money in the jar added up to $100 and on June 2 during a field trip to the shelter, students presented a check to KHS Executive Director Penny Cistaro.
“I think it’s great that kids do that,” Cistaro said. “I think it’s great that they chose the humane society.”
The money from the donation went to KHS food bank, “Gomez’s Galley.”
After the kids presented the check, they spent the day at KHS with humane education guide, Jonathan Fisher.
“I absolutely love showing the shelter,” Fisher said. “It’s probably one of my favorite things to do.”
In addition to showing the students dogs, puppies, cats and kittens, Fisher also allowed the students to visit the humane society’s surgery room and spoke with them about possible veterinary careers.
“My main thing is to always forward education,” Fisher said.
As Miyashiro accompanied her students during the donation and the tour, she was touched by their thoughtfulness.
“I think the best part was that they all had a good feeling when we left there that they helped somebody,” she said. “I think that’s going to influence them a lot in their lives as they go into the world.”