At Blue Ridge Elementary in Yancey County, the big sellers in the school store are jewelry Ashley Randolph and Erin McKinney’s second graders have been making out of plastic bags, to help people on the other side of the world.
The recycling project was inspired by the children’s book ‘One Plastic Bag,’ by Miranda Paul
It’s the story of a woman in the small African country of Gambia who began recycling plastic bags.
McKinney and Randolph initially thought a little recycling would be a good community service project, and that the kids would have fun making necklaces and tassels from bags that would have gone in a landfill.
"My favorite part of it is the braiding, because I never knew how to braid, and now, I’m really good at it," says student Abram.
But, then the two teachers, who have known each other since high school, did what they tend to do since they began teaching together this year.
"We just feed off each other really well, and like you were saying earlier, it’s almost like we find an idea and it gets bigger, bigger and bigger when we both get involved," says McKinney.
"And, we run back and forth to each other through the pod and I say ‘what do you think about this?’ and she’s like ‘oh, that sounds great,’ and she adds something. So, something that starts out really small grows quickly," Randolph adds.
The jewelry started selling.
More than two hundred dollars was raised.
The teachers and students decided to use that money to buy two goats to help a needy family in Gambia.
"Raising goats, selling goats, selling the milk, selling the butter or whatever products they can get from that," says Mc Kinney, explaining why goats are such an asset.
"They struggle a lot, lot lot more than us. They have to buy everything they need for a month off of 40 dollars," says Abram of what he's learned about life in Gambia.
"It feels good because we get to help other kids," adds fellow student Evierly.
If you would like to help out with the Goats for Gambia project, contact: Anrandolph@yanceync.net