A group of seventh- and eighth-graders from the middle school held weekly meetings focused on finding a charity to support. After much research, they decided to donate $500 to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military.
In addition, the kids signed up to become student ambassadors for the Wounded Warrior Project. They decided they wanted to help even more by raising additional money. They fundraised by selling Wounded Warrior Project bracelets and pins, informing the I.S. 93 community about the special ways in which this program helps wounded soldiers.
They were able to raise an additional $200, totaling a $700 donation to the organization.
As a special surprise, the group of students were able to meet a true wounded warrior: Sgt. Juan Arrendondo, one of the first soldiers to receive help from the Wounded Warrior Project when it began over 10 years ago.
Arrendondo spoke to the students about his injuries, losing an arm and part of his leg, and gave an inspirational speech on how he considers himself lucky to be alive.
“When you told your story about how you got hurt I wanted to cry,” said Weronika Pawlowska, a student at I.S. 93, in a thank-you letter to Sgt. Arrendondo. “It made me sad at how this happened to you and many other people. I love how you have confidence in telling us about your injuries and how you opened out to people. I learned no matter what happens, life can be amazing and full of surprises.”
I.S. student Anthony Paredes wrote, “Dear Juan, it was indeed a pleasure of meeting you. When I met you I knew that you were a person of endurance and that nothing could stop you. When you told us your story, you couldn’t prove me more correct of how you were a symbol of courage. I hope to be like you one day.”