By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW — Forest Elementary students are learning about hands-on social studies by being aware of current events in a nearby city and doing something to help.
Caleb Litten, a Forest Elementary fifth-grader, said he along with other students wanted to do something to help with the water issue in Flint. He attended the Jan. 19 City Council meeting where he and two friends, collected 100 bottles of water from council members and thanked Mayor Andy Swift and the council for their support. The children’s goal was for a 100,000 bottle collection.
“Our goal is to collect enough water to fill a big delivery truck,” Litten said.
With that, Litten and his friends were surprised when Councilman James Trombley piped in and said he would donate 900 bottles.
Trombley, said he would be a “hypocrite” if he sat back and did nothing. He said he complains about the government aiding others while sometimes turning a blind eye on the needs of their own residents.
“I’m going to make a donation to you, Caleb, because you stepped up to the plate here, with 900 more bottles, that’s 30 cases. I really respect what your doing I really like to see the youth get involved.”
With that, Trombley donated another 900 bottles of water.
The official collection ends Jan. 22, but Forest Elementary Principal Jason Gribble said the school, at 19400 Hampton, will continue to collect after the date. There are signs for those donating after school hours.
“It’s a good deed you’re doing,” Swift said.
Gribble said this is a great project because it helps teach students about “real world” problems, current events and social studies. He said the idea stemmed from school librarian Azita Fratterelli learning about Art Van’s collection and suggesting the school could collect and add to the furniture store’s collection.
When asked how educators broached the subject with the students, he said the students in Flint and residents didn’t have clean water. Gribble said school faculty care about their students in Riverview and that they should care about other students.
He said apparently the message got across, because there are cases of water lining the hallway.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)