If you want to get a big job done, harness the energy of thousands of elementary schoolchildren.
That is what Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation did this fall. Our Can-it! “can-paign” encouraged teachers and students to get involved in a recycling project that benefits the burn foundation’s Pediatric Fund.
Elementary school pupils in Aiken, Burke, Columbia, Edgefield, Jefferson, Lincoln, McDuffie, and Richmond counties collected and bagged more than 350,000 cans. After collecting them, they took the cans to the burn foundation’s collection trailers at one of their local fire stations. Some teachers used the Can-it! curriculum to teach basic principles of conservation, and the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Parents reinforced the efforts at home, and the results were quite amazing.
The students’ efforts yielded nearly 11,000 pounds of aluminum. This recycling effort resulted in a gift of $6,200 to the burn foundation’s Pediatric Fund. As one pupil said, “Awesome!” Not only did they help make their community a more eco-friendly place, they helped the patients and families of burn patients served by the burn foundation.
The burn foundation operates a guest house where families can stay while their loved ones are being treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. Last year, about 2,000 patients were admitted. More than 25 percent were children younger than age 17, most injured through an accident involving a flame or scald.
The love of family is powerful medicine for a patient who is struggling to recover. Thanks to the teachers, children, families and fire departments who participated in the Can-it! recycling can-paign, the burn foundation will be able to help more families stay nearby and provide medication and anti-scarring garments to children who need assistance upon discharge. We appreciate their efforts so much.
Children helping other children – what a precious life lesson.
(The writer is president of the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation.)