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‘Spread Kindness:’ English Class Adopts Houston School Hit by Hurricane

Ramajla Rizvic wanted to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, but as a full-time college student, her funds and abilities to help are limited.

So when Christy Ayars, an associate professor of English at Dalton State, told her English 1101 classes she was providing an opportunity to help, Rizvic didn’t hesitate to get involved.

Ayars adopted a class at East Early College High School in Houston, Texas, which was under approximately one foot of water following the hurricane. The class provided Ayars with their needs, and she challenged her classes to help fulfill those. East Early College High School is a magnet school where 89 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches.

“She gave us their supply list, and we were all interested in helping,” Rizvic said. “Helping is awesome. Helping people is just what you should do. I believe if you spread kindness it will come back to you. Getting involved is easy when you have professors like Mrs. Ayars.”

Together, the two classes of college freshmen, gathered notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, and other basic school supplies, which Ayars will ship to the school.

“I decided this would be a great way to get them engaged since civic engagement is a big part of what we encourage here at Dalton State,” Ayars said. “I hear students say they don’t have time to volunteer, but they still want to help. When I first told my students, I didn’t know what to expect. I was really impressed with what they brought in.

“I know some of our students struggle to get their own supplies,” she said. “I didn’t know if they’d be able to come up with supplies for another school. But they brought in tons, not just one or two packs. One student brought in seven boxes of composition books.”

To tie the project back into English, Ayars assigned her students to write letters to the high school students. They were allowed to write individual letters or write collaboratively.