Students and staff in the Laveen Elementary School District raised $7,213 to support recovery efforts for Mexico’s devastating earthquake. The funds were raised through a Dress Down Day fundraiser held on September 29.

For $1, students were permitted to dress out of uniform and staff members could dress in business casual attire. All eight schools and district departments participated. Parents and community members also made donations.

The idea came from Brittney Downs, a third grade teacher at Paseo Pointe — the district’s dual language immersion school. The school was celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and students were researching various Spanish speaking countries when the earthquake struck.

“In the midst of our efforts to celebrate these cultures, Mexico was hit by a tragedy.  Helping will connect our students to the Mexican people in a way that goes deeper than just studying their culture,” Downs explained. “What better way to honor them than to lend a helping hand in a time of need?”

She pitched the idea to district superintendent Dr. Bill Johnson who was immediately on board with the idea. “We have so many students who have family members in Mexico. I’ve been asking staff to think of ways in which we can show our support to our families impacted by this tragedy. This district-wide effort allows students, staff, and our entire Laveen community to help many of our neighbors and friends.”

“I think all people, children included, know and feel the benefits when they help others.  When we fill other people’s buckets, our buckets are getting filled too,” Downs said. “I hope our fundraiser reflects our hearts for loving our neighbor- in our classrooms, in our community, and all over the world. I hope the students are empowered to a lifetime of serving others.”

The money will be sent to GlobalGiving which provides critical resources such as housing, medical aid, water, and emotional support.