Students at Davis Magnet School in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are raising money for a good cause by selling one kindness gram at a time.
Upon learning that the headquarters of OCDE’s Inside the Outdoors program was overtaken by December’s Bond Fire, students in the Peer Assistance Leadership — or PAL — program knew they had to help. In advance of this week’s campus-wide Kindness Week, Davis students have been working to assemble and sell kindness grams to raise funds in support of their favorite environmental education program.
During a special Zoom call on Tuesday, PAL students, along with their advisers Kelley Galen, Lisa Holman, and Katelyn Danahy, presented Inside the Outdoors with a donation for $2,464.
The funds will be used to help support educational programs, with a portion of the proceeds supporting ITO Operations Manager Stephanie Smith and her family, who lost their home at the Rancho Soñado site and most of their belongings in the fire.
“This is an amazing gesture of generosity and kindness from the students and families of Davis Magnet School,” said Smith. “We are humbled by how kind our education community has been and so fortunate to see how Inside the Outdoors has impacted the schools we work with, larger than just bringing science into their school day. These students are amazing.”
Davis Magnet School has participated in the OCDE-led PAL program for the past five years. But, according to Principal Christy Flores, helping Inside the Outdoors provided extra motivation not only for students but the entire community.
“Upon learning of the impacts the Bond Fire had on Inside the Outdoors and its program animals, our students were motivated to support an organization that has provided them with so many memorable learning experiences,” said Flores. “This included fifth-grade student, Baylee, who took it upon herself to host a lemonade stand in her yard that raised over $180 for our cause.”
Flores said many students, like Baylee, were touched to learn about the tragedies Inside the Outdoors endured during the Bond fire and wanted to help.
“Inside the Outdoors has had a big impact on our students as they know what that program has done for our school,” she said. “I am so proud of our students, staff and community for stepping up to support an amazing science program that has enriched our learning experiences over the years.”
OCDE’s Inside the Outdoors program was established in 1974 to nurture student knowledge and promote stewardship of the natural environment. And, although structures were damaged in the fire and many of the program’s beloved animals lost their lives, ITO remains committed to serving the students of Orange County through its virtual Field Trips and Traveling Scientist programs.
While there is no timetable yet for rebuilding structures or rehabbing the site, a “Rebuild Inside the Outdoors” GoFundMe page has been set up to collect funds on behalf of the Inside the Outdoors Foundation.