When Columbus Middle School vocal music teacher Celeste Ditter prepares for her class’ next service project, she said she wanted to impress on her students the importance of helping.
“When you’re doing a service project because someone forces you to do it, you’re really only doing the bare minimum because you’re doing it for someone else,” Ditter said. “But when you see a need, something inside of you awakens. You do it because you feel obligated to do it. It’s a part of you that needs to help. This is when children do exceptional things.
Coming out of this year’s service project, it seems his students took his message to heart.
Over the past three weeks, CMS vocal music students have raised over $ 7,000 for their service project which was for the local Holiday Spirit Co-op program. Last week, the kids bought family gifts from the program – which helps children in need during the holidays by providing them with gifts from their “list of needs and wants,” said Ditter.
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“The Holiday Spirit Co-op (will help a) number families and children anonymously so that when community members want to go pay for a child’s Christmas present, they never know who the child is. or family, ”Ditter said. “It’s always anonymous.
Meanwhile, the remaining funds from the college service project went to Water Wells for Africa. The organization is drilling water wells for villages in Africa that are far from a water source, Ditter said.
Ditter said she was impressed with the children’s efforts as their goal was to raise at least $ 4,800.
“They did an amazing job,” Ditter said, adding that it was the second highest amount ever raised. “… I think the world of them. It is my guide and I who organize it but… it is not our project, it is theirs.
She added that the Columbus Public Schools Foundation also helps by keeping track of the money.
This was the 11th year of the service project. At every opportunity, there is a goal that every student must achieve. This time it was $ 21 to coincide with the year 2021, Ditter said.
As part of fundraising, students are responsible for volunteering their time by doing household chores or chores for their family or neighbor in order to raise funds, Ditter said. Plus, they can ask for donations from friends or family, she added.
“They are working hard to find a combination of the two things in three weeks,” she said.
For Ace DeWine, eighth grader at CMS, he wanted to give it his all this year. He said after years of asking for donations, he decided to volunteer his time by helping pick up leaves at his parents’ house, as well as participating in other projects.
DeWine added that he was happy the money was helping those in need.
“It’s a good feeling that you can actually help and that you feel a part of it,” he said.
Ditter has shown his students how their contributions are not just local but global. She said her children watched videos from Water Wells for Africa and learned how vital it is for villages to have such wells.
“It (shows) the cycle of poverty and how they cannot break it because children cannot go to school because their job is to walk to these completely dirty water points and whose ‘water is unsanitary,’ Ditter said. “The only way for this community to break free from this cycle is to get clean water. “
Over the years, CMS has raised so much money for the organization that one of the wells has a plaque with the name of the choir team, Ditter said. She added that the school is close to being honored on another well.
“I say to the students, ‘You literally change the course of humanity when you do these kinds of things, whether small or large,” Ditter said. “When we work together we can really make a difference. “
Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Contact him by email at [email protected]