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A small kindness: Kindergarten students raise money for Ukrainian family | Juneau Empire

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It was a lesson in kindness — with more than a little math thrown in.

Students in Carly Lehnhart’s Sítʼ Eetí Shaanáx̱ – Glacier Valley School kindergarten class, staffed a pop-up shop Friday afternoon to raise money for a Ukrainian family living in Washington state that fled Ukraine amid Russia’s violent invasion.

“We have been working hard as a class to talk about Kindness Squad,” Lehnhart said, explaining that Kindness Squad is a term she made up for students to encourage good deeds. “It’s basically me using it as a way to encourage my students to spread kindness — even without anybody watching.”

Recently a student was discussing the ongoing war in Ukraine, and it became apparent “the Kindness Squad has a big job to do,” Lehnhart said.

A sign reading “Kindness to Ukraine” marks a place for community members to buy cards to support a displaced Ukrainian family living in Washington state. Friday, Students in Carly Lehnhart’s kindergarten class sold cards decorated with pictures of sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, to raise money for the family. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

A classroom para-educator was aware of a family displaced by the invasion and brainstorming began for a way to help out. The idea of selling cards decorated with students’ drawings Ukraine’s national flower, the sunflower, was settled upon.

“We learned about how we have a state flower, and we learned about their national flower,” Lehnhart said.

Cards bearing students’ drawings of a sunflower awaited customers on Friday afternoon. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Cards bearing students’ drawings of a sunflower awaited customers on Friday afternoon. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Cards bearing students’ drawings of a sunflower awaited customers on Friday afternoon. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Cards bearing students’ drawings of a sunflower awaited customers on Friday afternoon. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Adults picking up students and community members were enthusiastic in supporting the card stand, which included a photo of the family that will receive the funds raised, handmade signage and a plastic, primary-colored cash register containing real money. During purchases, Lehnhart helped students work out how much a purchase would cost and operate the cash register.

Aiona Fisi gives Daniel Lee, a kindergarten student, money for a card decorated with a student-drawn picture of a sunflower, while kindergarten teacher Carly Lehnhart supervises. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Aiona Fisi gives Daniel Lee, a kindergarten student, money for a card decorated with a student-drawn picture of a sunflower, while kindergarten teacher Carly Lehnhart supervises. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jasmine Oree, 6, holds up a sign advertising a card stand Friday afternoon outside Sítʼ Eetí Shaanáx̱ - Glacier Valley School. Students in Carly Lehnhart’s kindergarten class sold cards to community members decorated with pictures of sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, to raise money for a Ukrainian family in Washington state. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jasmine Oree, 6, holds up a sign advertising a card stand Friday afternoon outside Sítʼ Eetí Shaanáx̱ – Glacier Valley School. Students in Carly Lehnhart’s kindergarten class sold cards to community members decorated with pictures of sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, to raise money for a Ukrainian family in Washington state. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Mark Kelley was among the students’ customers. He said he’s a longtime friend of Lehnhart’s, and he was drawn to supporting a good cause.

“She told us about it last night, and I thought, ‘It’s so cool,’” Kelley said.

Jan Beauchamp, another customer, was similarly enthusiastic.

“What a great idea these kids had,” Beauchamp said. “I mean, how can you pass this up?”

Students in Carly Lehnhart’s kindergarten class stand near a card stand outside Sítʼ Eetí Shaanáx̱ - Glacier Valley School. The students sold cards on Friday to raise money to support a Ukrainian family living in Washington state. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Students in Carly Lehnhart’s kindergarten class stand near a card stand outside Sítʼ Eetí Shaanáx̱ – Glacier Valley School. The students sold cards on Friday to raise money to support a Ukrainian family living in Washington state. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

As of Friday afternoon, over $200 had been raised, and Lehnhart said she could be contacted at carly.lehnhart@juneauschools.org by people wishing to make donations.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.




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