Cherokee Student Ambassadors Answer the Call

Cherokee Student Ambassadors Answer the Call for Help
Posted on 09/13/2021
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student group with donationsRallying together to support others, whether locally, nationally or even internationally, is a common occurrence among Lakota students. When Todd Caulfield, a sixth-grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary School, received an email from A Child’s Hope International asking for donations to assist victims of Hurricane Ida, he knew just who to turn to: the school’s sixth-grade ambassadors.

“The kids were super willing to help,” said Caulfield, who is also the group’s advisor, when asked about the students’ reaction to the idea of a supply drive. “It was cool to see the excitement on the kids’ faces that they were helping others.”

After talking with the students about the impact of the hurricane and why families in New Orleans needed assistance, the group got to work. They designed fliers for the building, worked with the school’s principal, Valerie Montgomery, to include promotions with their morning announcements, posts on social media and emails to families.

“The people suffering from the hurricane already had enough to worry about,” said Peyton Lee, one of the school’s ambassadors. “They shouldn’t have to worry about supplies.”

Fellow ambassador Lucas Argo agreed. “It would really help everybody who has been affected by (the hurricane).”

The group worked quickly, only having three days for the supply drive to meet the organization’s timeline. Each day, the ambassadors collected donations from classrooms and brought them to the office. At the end of the drive, the donations completely filled the back of Caulfield’s pickup truck and cab. “(Having supplies we need) is something that we take for granted,” said Sunshine Lodder.

Fellow ambassador Lizzie Morton agrees. “It makes me feel glad that these items we take for granted every day will help them get back to their normal lives.”

Ambassadors are chosen by teachers at the end of fifth grade so they can help with the school’s open house in August. During the annual event, they help direct families to their classrooms and welcome new students to the school. Students also have the opportunity to join the group once the school year begins. 

During the first days of school, ambassadors help third graders adjust to their new school, including finding their classrooms and buses. Throughout the year, the group assists teachers and will buddy up with third graders to help them with reading and math facts. 

Based on their reflections about the supply drive, it’s no wonder that many of the ambassadors have been members of the school’s kindness club as well. “It makes me feel good that people have what they need,” said ambassador Loujane Saleh.

The ambassadors, who meet twice a month, are already brainstorming for future projects to benefit the community. A toy drive for the holidays, making cards for nursing home residents and helping Reach Out Lakota are just a few ideas they are considering. There are also plans in the work to partner with a local nursing home to plant a flower garden.

“It’s really helpful to give back to the community when they need it,” said sixth-grader Ian Long.

When asked why they jumped on the opportunity to help with Ida and how they felt seeing Caulfield’s truck filled to the brim with supplies, ambassador Alex Reder summed it up perfectly: “This might help the people have hope.”