FALL RIVER: One Fall River family’s devastation of losing their home to a fire last month has led to some goodwill from the most unexpected place—students at Ash Lee Jefferson School (ALJ).

The students in the Me-to-We group at the school were planning on doing some type of fundraiser where they gave back to the community. It only made sense to do it for the family that lost their Sutherland Drive home in a blaze.

What that shows is how caring and compassionate the students and school community at ALJ are, especially given the fact the family has no one attending or connection to the school.

Grade 5/6 teacher Holly O’Hearn said many of the kids at the school lived in the neighbourhood where the fire occurred or rode their bikes past the house.

“They were coming to school talking about the family,” said O’Hearn. “We talked about how horrible it was to lose your house and how things are irreplaceable and how it would be nice if we showed that we were thinking about them.

“The kids just jumped on board and showed how compassionate they are.”

She said they came up with the idea that students would pay $1 to wear PJ’s or Easter Bunny ears at school on April 13, thinking they’d raise maybe $600-700. In the end they raised close to $1,200.

“We saw kids putting $5, $20 bills in our baskets,” she said. “The kids were so excited when we began counting the money and wondering how we pulled it altogether.”

William Hartnell and Anna Ching were two of those who helped out; Anna spoke to each classroom, made posters and put them up around the school trying to hype her fellow students up to support it.

“We were going to do something to support families in our community and then this happened,” said William. “We decided it would be good if we put all our money into this to help them.

“It felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Anna thought it was awesome to see how much they could raise.

“I was surprised because I was expecting $600 or $700 and then when I heard almost $1,200 I was ‘wow’” she said.

She felt good knowing they’re gesture will have an impact.

“I always like knowing that everybody can help,” said Anna.

O’Hearn said the fundraiser says a lot about the school community.

“I think it just showed a lot of youth activism,” she said. “I think it was great.”

Anna thinks the family is likely pretty impressed with what the students did for them.

“I think it’s a big thing because if you lose everything and a school that has no connection to you just comes in and helps you,” said Anna, “it’s pretty great.”

With this kind gesture, the family knows others in the community who they likely don’t know are supporting them in their time of need.