Students raise money for local woman's medical expenses

Mar 20, 2017

After a month of collecting 3,395 cans and bottles, students at Harvey Austin School in Buffalo are giving back to the community. On Monday, the students presented a 21-year-old woman named Jessie who suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, an incurable neurological pain disorder, with a check to help with medical expenses – including training for a new guide dog.

Home & Careers Teacher Jean Marie Dickey suggested the idea after seeing a fundraising flyer.

Students from PS #97 Harvey Austin School presented a check to a local 21-year-old woman suffering from RSD.
Credit Jean Marie Dickey

“I learned about Jessie through a mailing that came to my home asking me to put bottles out on my front porch. We look for one community service a year for our young people and our student council to do, and we presented this to student council and they were so excited and couldn’t wait to start collecting bottles,” Dickey said.

Dickey said she is proud of the students after seeing their enthusiasm to help others.

“Our young people are from the inner city and they don’t have much themselves,” Dickey said. “I thought it was awesome that they took this on and they wanted to really do this and make a difference. Over the course of the month, I saw my students so enthusiastic—going around asking for bottles, bringing bottles on the bus to the school so we could count them.”

Dickey said that every morning at school, students would eagerly ask how much money they raised that day.

“I would give them the total and they would be so excited because our goal was $150, and when we exceeded that goal, they were so impressed and they were very taken aback—they couldn’t believe they actually did that and were actually giving back to the community,” Dickey said.

The students raised $169.75 from can and bottle deposits. More than $12,800 has been raised on a Go Fund Me page, which includes money made from neighborhood bottle collections.