NORFOLK, Va. — Inside of Ms. Edick's first-grade classroom at Coleman Place Elementary School in Norfolk, a math lesson on Valentine’s Day went beyond simply counting numbers.
About a month ago, Ms. Edick had an idea. She wanted to teach her students about the challenges foster kids face and what they could do to help them.
“The children, they did not know what foster care was, so we talked about it and they were like, 'Oh, that wouldn't be good,'” said Ms. Edick. “So, we did talk about how to be kind, and how would you feel if all of a sudden you go from your home and you have nothing to take with you.”
That's when she decided to start a new project. She called it "Let’s Show Some Love."
Ms. Edick said she was inspired by a recent 13News Now story, which described the struggle foster care children face when they're removed from a home. During emergency situations, many of them take their belongings in trash bags, because oftentimes, they don’t have suitcases.
The story prompted Ms. Edick to call a local non-profit to ask how her school could help. She was told toiletries are the top need.
For about a month, students from the entire school have collected toiletries for children in foster care. On Friday, Ms. Edick’s first graders sorted through hundreds of donated items in the classroom.
One of her students, Mackenzie Crawford, said it felt good to help other children who may need it.
“I think it's the best Valentine’s gift for them, cause they must never see all this stuff and they might really need it,” Mackenzie said.
The response from these students was so overwhelming, it brought Ms. Edick to tears.
“I am flabbergasted. Really, I had no idea what we would accomplish with this. I thought maybe we would get 100 things altogether. But, I've lost count,” said Ms. Edick. “I think the kids will remember this forever, as having done something to help others.”
As they sorted through the items one by one, Ms. Edick proudly watched her students. Along the way, she said she has learned something too: never underestimate the power of first graders.
All of the items collected will be donated to Tidewater Friends of Foster Care, a non-profit organization in Norfolk.