TUCSON, Ariz.(KGUN) — Continental School District #39 held a special event on Monday. They kicked off their “Project Gratitude” initiative by putting a super-sized Ukrainian flag on their football field. Elementary school students are writing letters to other kids from Ukraine who have been displaced because of the war with Russia. Organizer Carew Papritz says the kids have done similar projects in the past and it's a great way to show support for Ukrainian kids right now.
"It really teaches the kids how to reach out to people in different ways. People want to do something these days, they feel helpless with this Ukrainian war situation. When was the last time you got a personal letter? You can’t wait to open it up, it’s like a present,” Papritz said.
7th grader Olivia Rojas and her brother 2nd grader Max, both say it's a great idea. It’s also helping students build character and that’s a big part of the school's mission.
"I think they would be nervous going to a new school, because they wouldn’t know anyone at the school,” Max said.
"Imagine how great it would feel to get letters from kids from an entirely different country. Giving you hope and support and knowing they’re with you,” Olivia said.
The school district is also known to support its students and their unique endeavors. There is a chance that the letters being sent to the Ukrainian kids might get a special delivery from Southern Arizona.
"We constructed the world’s largest handwritten thank you letter, envelope and stamp and we recently received the Guinness world record for that. I’m in discussions with some people about me going over and hand delivering them myself and that’s something I would love to do. I just feel like taking these letters with our kid's voices would be so powerful over there,” Papritz said.
The group is hoping the gesture of kindness from the 400 to 500 kids at the school will spread to others across the state and beyond. The letters could be delivered sometime in June.
"We have a lot of feelers to schools out in Poland near the border where the kids are going to school. If anyone personally knows someone who’s teaching at a school in Poland with Ukrainian refugee kids that would be great, we are going to find that person,” Papritz said.
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