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Endeavor Charter Academy’s Fourth-Grade Class Helps Ukrainian Students with Arts and Crafts

Last spring Amy Tustin’s fourth-grade class decided to do something for students who were affected by the war in Ukraine. Her scholars wanted to help in some way.
 
Every spring, Endeavor Charter Academy holds the Endeavor Market, as staff create arts and crafts and sell their items; if they have items that they might put in a garage sale, staff can sell those, as well.
 
Two of Mrs. Tustin’s students paint an inspirational message on their canvases.

Tustin asked her scholars if they would like to make some arts and crafts items to sell at the market. Her students were excited by the idea. They made:
  • Paper flowers, any color, that hang from the ceiling.
  • Small canvases painted with inspirational messages.
  • Flowers pens.
  • Sun catchers.
 “Everybody had a hand in something whether it was actually making the items, delivering items to teachers, or collecting the money,” Tustin said. “In total the students’ arts and crafts raised $100. With the exchange rate for the Ukrainian hryvnia, this equaled $2,000! We were all so excited about this.”

 A variety of canvases were made with inspirational messages.

Tustin used her social studies class time to work with the students on this project. The students learned about economics and treated this project as an opportunity to talk about how a business operates.
 
“I was researching how to find a legitimate group to donate to,” said Tustin. “Then I remembered I had a friend who was hosting an exchange student from the Ukraine. My friend connected me with the student’s father, who is a teacher there.”
 
This scholar made some beautiful sun catchers.

Over the summer, Tustin was able to get the funds raised to the man, who is a teacher in Ukraine and works temporarily at Ternopil Classical Gymnasium. A Ukrainian newspaper published an article about the project. Here is a translated excerpt:
 
“Students of Ternopil Classical Gymnasium received a pleasant meeting and gifts from abroad after the end of the academic year. Until now, children had only met in online lessons, so the opportunity to communicate with each other, meet the director and teachers has become a useful initiative for everyone. An additional reason for the meeting of these students was a surprise from the students of the United States of America.

 
“Fourth graders from Endeavor Academy in Springfield, Michigan and teacher Amy Tustin participated in a craft fair at their school. They decided to transfer the raised funds to the needs of Ukrainian children, who sincerely sympathize with them having to go through the war.
 
“The funds raised at the school fair were used to purchase necessary school supplies for the Ukrainian students who left their homes due to the war and settled temporarily in Ternopil.

 
“In total, the gymnasium (school) accepted 12 such students, reported the director of the Classical Gymnasium Oksana Boytsun. They are all happy with the learning process here, but now the families of some students have returned home or gone abroad and now there are seven internally displaced children remaining. Each of them we value, respect and help to adapt in our institution. A warm atmosphere, psychological training, and a workshop on weaving bracelets with blue and yellow ribbons gathered children even more and gave them confidence.
 
“And the gifts from students and teachers from overseas moved everyone and left a pleasant memory. Ukrainian children, and the management of the grammar school, are sincerely grateful for such care of them. They send warm greetings to American students and wish everyone peace.
~ written by Anastasia Baran
 
Tustin has become Facebook friends with the exchange student’s father in Ternopil in west Ukraine.
 
“This experience was good for my students,” Tustin said. “They took a step back and they realized what it is like for people in other parts of the world. We were able to do one small gesture to make a difference all the way on the other side of the world. A big thing I do in my classroom is teach respect and kindness. I used this experience to ask my students to focus inward to look at what is going on in my school or my classroom. Where can I make a difference here in somebody's life? Maybe I should be giving someone an extra smile, or a compliment, because that’s a big thing and can make a difference in someone’s life.”
 
Congratulations to Mrs. Tustin and her fourth-grade students, now in fifth grade, who shared their love and respect for kids like them in Ukraine.

About Endeavor Charter Academy
Endeavor Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Springfield, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 98 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.