Pamela Tellez, the health assistant at Chandler Traditional Academy’s Freedom Campus in Gilbert, Arizona, was deeply affected by the images of the devastation in the aftermath of the recent wildfires in Maui. "My cousin's husband grew up in Lahaina, so everything he knows as a child and a young adult is gone,” Tellez reveals.
Thankfully, most of their family are safely on the other side of the island, but she still wanted to do something for those affected by the fires. So Tellez rallied the students at CTA Freedom Elementary to send messages of sympathy and support. “Just a little message from the mainland saying we’re with you, we support you,” Tellez explains. From kindergarten to sixth grade, students at the school are pouring their sentiments into handmade cards for the children of Lahaina. “Losing your home and losing some of your friends and losing your school can be hard,” shares Eleven-year-old Scarlett Wall. Her card included a gentle reminder to “remember to smile.”
Students in Courtney Bickley’s kindergarten class also got in on the effort by brainstorming uplifting messages before creating their cards of hope for the children of Lahaina. They want the cards to make a difference, but it’s not just that. The initiative is a lesson for the students of CTA Freedom that empathy and unity can help on the path to healing.