4th-grade kids helping Ukrainian refugees get life lessons

Posted at 8:48 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 20:48:35-04

CLARKSTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — Humanitarian help comes in many forms, sizes, and amounts. And it is becoming a life lesson from Clarkston to Poland to Ukraine.

When the Bensons moved to Poland, their big family became even larger helping Ukrainian refugees. They were featured on "Good Morning America." L. J. Benson left her fourth grade class at Bailey Lake Elementary in February to be with her family. Her classmates and friends decided they needed to help.

Bethany Rocho, their teacher, decided a coin drive would be the best way. And in a week, they raised close to $13,000.

“A mission like this where we have all wanted to support, it has just blown us away,” Rocho told 7 Action News.

The "GMA" story showed how the Benson home has helped at least 9 families who stay for a night, others for weeks. At one point, 21 people were staying there.

In Rocho’s class Monday afternoon, they did a Zoom with L.J. and her dad OT Benson. He told the kids, “That is so cool. You are awesome kids. I’m really proud of you.” He gave them a life lesson, that their money would provide basics for the refugees, buying them new shirts, new pants and new shoes.

What has this taught the teacher about humanity? Rocho says, “Gosh, there’s so much more to this job than — I don’t want to get all teary-eyed — than just teaching. At our school, we are very driven and focused on people. Connections are what's important. And I'm not discrediting academics and what we teach because I prioritize that but teaching these kids to just be good people.”

OT Benson said on the Zoom they will be back here in a couple of years to thank everybody.

The Benson’s also have a GoFundMe page for donations.