Galveston students make message of hope for Joplin

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Ball High Prep students, Ball High School students and other community volunteers wanted to send hope to tornado-stricken Joplin, Mo.

The students, who know the extent of disaster following Hurricane Ike in 2008, decided to draw from a Japanese tradition to send their message.

According to the tradition, folding 1,000 paper cranes makes a person's wish come true.

In November, the students started folding 1,000 paper cranes for Joplin, which was hit in May by a tornado, killing about 160 people.

"It's a really good idea to make cranes and help out another community that went through something similar to Galveston," according to Keziah Thomas, a junior and student coordinator.

Fellow student coordinator Margaret Walsh, a junior, said students could relate to the disaster.

"They'll have a sense of hope," she said. "They can rebuild and there is hope to become a community again."

The 1,000 cranes project is part of the PASS: TIMES (Promote Active Student Service through Teaching, Inspiring, Modeling, Empowering and Supporting) Partnership, a leadership program for the Ball High Prep class of 2013.

Student leaders organized the project, which included more than 100 volunteers and Ball High School alumni in Houston and Galveston folding cranes to contribute.

"When I get to Joplin, they'll know Galveston sent this," Marianne Pascal Beerstecher, director of the PASS: TIMES Partnership and Ball High graduate, said. "We're all part of the rebuilding process."

This week, the students and other volunteers finished the project, folding and stringing more than 1,000 origami cranes. The cranes will be displayed at Galveston's East End Theatre before they are delivered to Joplin in March.

"The 1,000 Cranes project is the first outreach project the students and I have done to link to another community hit by a natural disaster," Beerstecher said. "I see it as a sign of Galveston's strength and recovery that the students are so interested in this project to reach out to others."

In years past, the group has painted murals at the Ronald McDonald House on the island, said Beerstecher, who now lives in New York.

"Since then, I have returned home twice a year and am committed to continuing projects at the Ronald McDonald House where the students can participate as volunteers and leaders to continue the rebuilding process," she said.


Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com

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