April 7, 2022
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA— With war raging in the Ukraine, C.J. Morris and Castle Rock Elementary Schools are stepping forward to offer packages of hope to refugee children.
Walnut Valley USD IB-PYP schools have launched a Rainbow Kit project with coloring books, notebooks, fidget toys, crayons, pencils, letters of encouragement, and Skittles candy.
C.J. Morris special education teacher Rochelle Mortensen spearheaded the global outreach effort with the goal of sending 300 packages to comfort and help ease the stress of the displaced children.
By April 7, the school had already assembled and mailed 400 kits.
Using donated supplies, groups of fourth and fifth grade students have been gathering in the multipurpose room to assemble the packages.
Since the project began on March 21, C.J. Morris families have contributed over $1,800 to help with shipping costs and additional items as needed, IB Coordinator Kelly Howard shared.
Castle Rock began the Rainbow Kit project on April 4 that will continue through Spring Break until April 22.
Before each shift, Mortensen shares the sage advice of Mr. (Fred) Rogers to “always look for the helpers” when they see scary things on the news.
“When you see the helpers, you’ll know there is hope,” she said.
“And, what’s more important is that we can be the helpers!”
With those words of encouragement, the students quickly began filling plastic bags at the tables lined with supplies.
“I love doing this!” exclaimed fourth grader Kekoa Revells.
“It just feels good doing something to help,” he offered.
Students topped each Rainbow Kit with a handwritten letter and colorful bag of Skittles candy.
“We want them to know that behind every storm is a rainbow and we’re providing that rainbow!”
C.J. Morris Elementary students assemble Rainbow Bags for Ukrainian refugee children on April 5.
Be the helpers! Teacher Rochelle Mortensen shares message of hope with C.J. Morris student volunteers.