Story Co. Elementary Student Helping Homeless Peers

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AMES, Iowa -- Homelessness is a problem many of us don't see, but it's often right in front of us. One elementary student heard about the problem in schools and decided she wanted to make a difference.

"I thought I could raise money," fifth grader Aurora Bettazza, 10, said. She is working with the Ames Morning Rotary to raise money for the Ames Community School District. Funds will help buy items for students transitioning through homelessness.

Ames Community School District Homeless Liaison Sipele Quezada said, "I was so touched and moved. One: by her age, and the fact that she was so willing to do that."

Bettazza hopes to raise $1,000 with a fundraiser at Orange Leaf, a frozen yogurt shop, and a garage sale and her Grandma’s home in Ames. She wanted to make a difference after hearing her grandma have a conversation about some students not having homes.

“A lot of times when we think of homelessness, we think of a dirty old man living under a bridge, and that’s not the fact. It’s 4th and 5th graders,” Quezada said.

More than 200 students in the Ames Community School District don't have a place to call home. She says about 5 percent of the population in any district deals with the problem. "I would urge people to go out in their own community and find out what they can do," Quezada said.

Bettazza’s fundraiser is at the Orange Leaf at 637 Lincolnway in Ames from 4 to 10 p.m. on Monday, July 21st. The garage sale is Saturday, July 26th. Bettazza would like to present a check to the district before school starts in August.

Bettazza also set up an website to collect donations. Click here for more information.


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