By Peter Alson

COLLECTIVE INSPIRATION: (From left to right) Cailli Jenkins, Eve Ramsdell Coleman, Sophie Wilks, Aly Jenkins, Dot Lethridge, and Eden Alson raised $711.00 for the NYSPCC through their creative designs and baked goods. Photo by Alessandra Vesi.

In these mean times, it can be painful to think of the world into which we have brought our children. But it can also be inspiring to see how our children respond to hardships and what they do, together, to make the world a better place.

This spring, a small group of fifth graders from P.S. 41 set out to raise money for at-risk kids and families. On Saturday, June 24th, their efforts were realized from behind a table at the corner of 5th Avenue and 9th Street. There, they went about selling the colorful and inventive crafts they had spent the past few months creating, along with some baked goods and lemonade, to raise money for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC).

Alessandra Vesi, the mother of sister and brother Cailli and Aly Jenkins, helped coordinate the project, lending her expertise as a professional designer. The group, comprised of her two kids, along with Eden Alson, Dot Lethridge, Sophie Wilks, and Eve Ramsdell Coleman (each 11 years old), created colorful wreaths, bags, lunch boxes, hair pins, baskets, and necklaces that they sold for prices ranging from $1.00 to $20.00.
“We wanted to help kids who might be in tough circumstances,” Eden Alson said. “And this seemed like a good way to do that.”

“It’s easy to feel somewhat helpless in this age of Trump,” said Vesi, “especially in the face of enormous problems, like climate change, that would feel large even if everyone was banding together to fight them. But I think it helps to do good things on a local level, and that’s what this was. And I think that the kids were able to see in a very direct way that they had achieved something positive.”

In fact, after the day-long sale was complete, the five P.S. 41-ers had raised $711.00 for the NYSPCC; an additional $120.00 were raised through online donations.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that we’ve done something good,” said Aly Jenkins. “And [we] plan to do it again.”

If you would like to help the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, donations may be mailed to 161 William Street, 9th Floor, or through the website at

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