Foothill Adventist Elementary School
1991 Landess Ave, Milpitas, CA 95035-7071 • 408-263-2568

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Community Service Archive

Foothill Students Send Smiles to Brazil
Tiffany dos Santos
March 2012

T-shirts, pajamas, and school supplies. A simple toy and some new underwear. These are not things that most kids need to worry about having in their possession. For those children who grow up in an orphanage, however, these items are precious.  It was with this thought that the students at Foothill Adventist Elementary School in Milpitas, CA came together to get these much needed items to children across the globe.

Tiffany dos Santos and Richard Morita, two of the teachers at Foothill, were heading to Brazil with their spouses to visit family and friends when they realized they were allowed to take much more luggage than they needed. Instead of leaving those extra suitcases behind, they asked their students to help fill them with supplies to bring to an orphanage.

First step: Gather the supplies.

Students across the grades headed to Target with their parents and started checking items off of a baby registry created solely for this project.  Little by little, the items started showing up. “When Mrs. dos Santos gave us the list, my mom and I went to the store. It was fun to look for the shirts and to think that by getting them I would be able to help other children like me,” said Ivan O., a fourth grader at Foothill. As more students came to school with their bags of clothes and school supplies, the more other students wanted to participate.

Sanjana, in sixth grade, arrived at school one day with a large bag, packed full. “I was thinking about how kids who live in an orphanage don’t know many people who care for them,” she said. “I wanted to show them that I care, and I felt that by providing them with stuff that they need would be a good way to do that.” More and more bags arrived and goodies were added to the pile. The fifth and sixth grade classroom donated their earnings from a smoothie sale (the proceeds usually going to their field trip fund). Parents started writing checks. One Kindergartener reached in his pocket and handed everything he had over to his teacher. “This is for the kids in Brazil,” he said. It was 26 cents.

Finally, after three weeks, the “Brazil Smile Box” was full and everything had been checked off the list. It was time to make 24 bags, one for each child living at the orphanage. A group of volunteers came together one Friday after school and organized the clothes and items and by age, size and gender.  Finding the right items–one shirt, one pair of shorts or pajamas, a new pack of underwear, socks, some pencils, a glue stick, crayons, and toy or game–they created the individual packs. “When I was making the cards to go in the bags I was wondering what they would think when they got them I was hoping it would bring smiles to their faces,” said Justine, eighth grade.

And bring smiles it did!  When the bags were delivered, along with songs, games, and chocolate chip cookies, those smiles lit up the room.  “Seeing their happiness though the pictures was proof that what we did made a difference,” Justine added.

In the end, the children in Brazil were left with goodies and knowledge that someone, somewhere cared about them. And the children in Milpitas, what were they left with? Eighth grader Andre said it best: “I realized that over here in America we are so blessed.  I feel honored that I was able to share some of my blessings with others.”