PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - Zeltin Sanchez and Jomar Arias are not your average middle school students. While most of their classmates spend their time texting friends about the latest celebrity gossip or playing sports outside, Arias and Sanchez are brainstorming ways to help raise money for starving children in Africa.
"I felt bad about the kids who don't have food to eat and water to drink," said Arias, a PCMS seventh-grader. "I wanted to help them."
Arias, a student in Allison Silverman's family and consumer science class, entered a video competition in March along with 80 of his schoolmates that challenged students to create a 30-second video about a humanitarian issue. Students sold scarves, coasters and journals, all made from recycled supplies, to raise $150 in prize money to go to the winner. Arias said it was an easy decision to make his video about world hunger.
"I knew about (world hunger), but I couldn't do much (to help) before," Arias said.
Arias won the competition and donated the $150 cash prize to a non-profit organization called the Lelt foundation, which provides support for under-supported and impoverished children in Ethiopia.
After Arias' donation and Silverman's continued advocacy, PCMS and the foundation's school - the Repi School - became sister schools, and the students exchanged letters and donated supplies to Ethiopia.
Through the letter-writing exchange, Sanchez, another of Silverman's students, met a 9-year-old Ethiopian boy named Getahun. Last week, Sanchez was named the winner of an essay contest held by Silverman that won Getahun sponsorship for a year.
"He has no food, no mom, his dad died and he works as a farmer," Sanchez said. "I have my mom, and she's always there for me, but he doesn't. I don't like seeing kids like that."
As part of the sponsorship, Sanchez will exchange letters with Getahun and send him food and clothing. Sanchez added that, instead of spending money on her Quinceanera - a Latin celebration of a girl's 15th birthday - she plans on sponsoring Getahun for an second year.
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