Saugus students raise funds to help Japan tsunami victims

SAUGUS – It has become known as the Tohoku Great Quake-Tsunami and when it struck Japan on March 11 the devastation left in its wake caught the country and the world by surprise.With the official death toll surpassing 12,000 and emergency workers still grappling with damaged and leaking nuclear reactors, the situation in Japan is dire.At Saugus High School, students pondered how to help the survivors. A brain-storming session resulted in two school clubs collecting money for the American Red Cross effort in Japan.Veronica Flynn, a health, wellness and fitness teacher at Saugus High, is also the adviser to the Helping Hands (a community service club) and the Anime (Japanese animation enthusiasts) Club at the school.”Both clubs are community service organizations. They do everything from raise money by walking for breast cancer research to participating in walks for hunger or sponsoring coat donations for the needy,” she said. “These same students decided they wanted to do something about what’s going on in Japan, so they set up a table in the cafeteria and began raising funds,” she said.To attract attention to the table, the Anime Club members created small origami paper cranes, which were given to anyone making a donation.”We’re in our second week and we hope to continue through next week,” Flynn said Wednesday. “We have a lot of teachers who donate as well. At first, some students were making comments that the Japanese have a lot of money and don’t need our help, but we explained the donations were going to the Red Cross efforts over there.”The donations began with dollars but have since trickled to coins, said Flynn, adding, “We’re getting a lot of quarters.”On Tuesday, the initiative had raised $80, according to Flynn.”When we first talked about the idea of helping Japan, the kids wanted to have a drive to collect blankets and water, but I suggested they call the Red Cross. They did, and they called other agencies. So that’s what they decided on,” Flynn said.

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