MRMS students are seeking community support as they raise funds for a Jr. High in Alvin, Texas.

COURTESY PHOTO - This year, MRMS is adopting Alvin Jr. High in Alvin, Texas to support them after Harvey.

This year, the students at Molalla River Middle School are adopting a middle school in Alvin, Texas, an area that experienced massive flooding as a result of Tropical Depression Harvey; and they need the community's help.

MRMS teacher Pamela Thomas conceived the idea as the result of a meeting led by the new principal Randy Dalton. At the meeting, he posed the question: how could school staff help students grasp the impact of the disasters that have occurred in the United States recently?

That's when Thomas, who leads the eighth grade National Beta Club, thought up the idea of a long-term effort to help kids impacted by Harvey.

"We thought that kids would relate to that the most—helping someone in their own peer group," Thomas said.

The eighth grade Beta Club will coordinate efforts, which will include classroom correspondence and fundraising. The club is committed to helping the community. Last year, they participated in a number of charitable projects, including raising $700 for a homeless center.

This year, they're leading their middle school in adopting Alvin Jr. High, where MRMS math teacher Patrick Tindall used to teach and where 63 percent of students have a low socioeconomic status.

"A large portion of our students were already at risk prior to the flood, and now many of them are living in homes that were flooded and are attempting to repair them," said Alvin Jr. High English teacher Rebecca Jasinski in an email to Thomas.

The adopt-a-middle school project aligns with MRMS's values for the year, which are kindness and empathy.

But Thomas doesn't want to teach her kids to throw money at Texas and then run. She wants Molalla students to understand that the devastation of a storm like this can last for months and years.

"We're going to forget about it, but those people aren't," Thomas said. "They're going to be struggling for years to come. That's why I thought of this continuous support."

In that spirit, the adoption will last for the whole academic year. Each MRMS homeroom will be assigned a classroom at Alvin Jr. High, and each month they will correspond in some way—whether it be through Skype, letters or sending packages. Jasinski from Alvin Jr. High is thrilled about the pen pal relationship since writing letters is a part of Texas state standards.

Thomas isn't yet sure what needs Alvin Jr. High will have, but she's expecting funds raised to go towards books and supplies for the school.

And here is where the community comes in. Students at MRMS are seeking donations from the public and even hoping to find some businesses to match funds. Those interested in donating can give through their GoFundMe or drop off a check at the middle school (made out to Molalla River Middle School PAC).

Kristen Wohlers
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