“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Today’s generation of young students may not have grown up on the gentle and affectionate wisdom of Mister Rogers, but they perhaps embody it more than any previous. Just look at the students of Jefferson Elementary School. Nine and ten years old, these Iowan students saw the devastation of Hurricane Harvey hundreds of miles south and wanted to help.
“You watch the news and you see all the devastation down there and you say, ‘We really should do something about it,’ and a lot of the kids at the school felt that way, so here we are,” said Edwin Colon, the school counselor who supervised the kids’ effort.
The students together raised several hundred dollars for the hurricane relief, mostly in spare change and fund from the student council. Colon coordinated more resources; he enlisted the support of local supermarket Hy-Vee, which made sure the students’ money reached farther when they shopped for supplies there. He also arranged for TanTara Transportation, a local trucking company, to donate a truck and driver to take the supplies down south into devastated Houston.
For students this young, this is a tremendous undertaking, and every one of them involved should be proud. But what they’ve done hasn’t only benefitted those people who will be receiving their donations; this kind of empathy, the kind that drives one to action, is the sort of thing that creates an adult who will be aware of their impact on the world and will not assume they are helpless in a crisis. This is our rising generation, and we should be awestruck at the shape it is taking.