Fourth graders share their research about the charities they chose to donate to.

Tuesday, November 23, looked differently for Hanson fourth grade students. Fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Kris Carmody, and her class received a letter and a package that would impact their lives forever. Inside the envelope, the fourth graders received a $500 donation and a simple request to give the money to people or organizations in need.

The letter stated, “I am asking for your help. I set aside some money every year to give to people or organizations that need help or that help others. Would you help me decide where it should go? I would like you to do some research and decide where the money should go.”

The fourth graders did just that. The students researched different charities and found ones they thought would make the most difference. After completing their research, the groups presented a speech, helping them decipher how the money would get distributed among charities. With the $500, the students gave: a Hanson student - $50; Community Angel Tree for gifts to be bought - $50; Shriners Hospital in honor of Paxton Hruby and the help they provide him - $50; Wounded Warriors - $20; Sanford Children’s Hospital-The Castle - $30; Davison County Search and Rescue - $25; Avera Hospice - $50; Dakota Counseling - $40; TeamSeas - $60; CASA - $65; and Mitchell Animal Rescue - $60.

It was evident that the fourth-grade students learned many valuable lessons from this experience. They all showed deep appreciation because they were able to impact many people.

“Some of the best lessons don’t come from a textbook, but the heart. This is a perfect lesson about a life skill that will go with them forever……. the gift of giving,” stated Mrs. Carmody.

Fourth grader, Madalynn Ruden, was asked what organization she advocated for and she explained, “I wanted to donate money to CASA because they help children who are less fortunate than I am.”

“I learned that one person’s kindness can set off a chain reaction and impact a lot of people,” commented fourth grader, Carys Patzlaff.

Patzlaff was right. Since one person showed compassion and kindness, 11 different organizations gained donations from the students.

We can all learn something from the fourth graders this holiday season. Even the smallest act of empathy and compassion can make a lasting impact on a person's life.

The anonymous donor stated it best, “Good luck, and I hope you never forget the feeling you get when you are helping others or showing kindness to others!”