WASHINGTON — A story of how Baltimore students raised thousands of dollars for Hurricane Harvey relief has gotten the attention of many people around the country, including talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
City Springs Elementary/Middle School teacher Wyatt Oroke, and the students who organized the fundraiser, will be featured Friday during a segment on DeGeneres’ syndicated television show.
Following the devastating hurricane in August, Oroke said he showed his eighth-grade students photos of the damage from Houston and they immediately asked how they could help.
“It’s oftentimes striking how we see those who have the least give the most,” said Oroke, whose school serves some of the poorest families in Baltimore. “I think it’s because they’ve seen that side of things, and have stronger empathy.”
Children in Oroke’s class did all the work putting their fundraiser together. They asked parents, teachers and fellow students for donations, even going from class to class with their message.
The goal initially for the students was to raise $500, but they quickly reached $1,000.
Things really took off after news outlets and social media began covering their story, and people around the country who took notice added at least another $2,000.
Money generated by the fundraiser is going to the American Red Cross.
“What happens in classrooms today impacts what happens in the world tomorrow,” Oroke said on “Ellen.” “If you fill your classroom with love today, you’re going to fill the world with love tomorrow.”
Oroke’s class has also received praise and visits from city officials in Baltimore, including Councilman Zeke Cohen and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
“My short term goal is to get them those opportunities, meeting people who will change their lives for the better,” Oroke said. “Long-term, it’s to have them give back to Baltimore.”
At the end of the Ellen segment, Oroke and his students learned that Shutterfly has donated $25,000 to their school.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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