Fourth Grader Gives ESU Faculty Powerful Lesson
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) professors are used to being the ones doing the teaching, but this week 30 faculty members got a lesson from a Wind Gap fourth-grader on how to bring art to children who have none.
Bethany Kuster, a 10-year-old student at Wind Gap Middle School in the Pen Argyl Area School District, spoke to the ESU College of Education faculty Tuesday, March 22, about her project “Color for Kids” that has collected and delivered more than 1,200 pounds of crayons, markers, paints and other art materials to nearly 1,000 low-income children around the world within the past five months.
ESU’s education faculty and students are joining Bethany’s effort by collecting art supplies on campus that Bethany and her family can ship to children in need, according to Terry R. Barry, Ed.D., dean of the College of Education.
“What we are looking to do is a service-learning project with our students,” Dr. Barry said. Education professors will work with student organizations to collect the supplies, and donations can be dropped in the designated bins on the first and second floors of Stroud Hall on campus.
“This is a really good reminder that some of the very best lessons in education have nothing to do with standardized achievement tests, Common Core and national curriculum, and everything to do with the children in your school and what’s in their hearts,” Dr. Barry said. “Here’s a little girl making a difference.”
Bethany Kuster began her efforts last November after hearing about an elementary school in Alabama where the children had to share a packet of crayons because there were not enough for all.
She approached her teacher, Scott Kupec, about collecting art supplies for those pupils and sending them to the school. Kupec was all for it.
“I really like art and art makes people happy,” Bethany said.
Bethany’s passion for the cause was infectious and soon she had her parents, Rachel and Kraig Kuster, and other students, teachers and principals on board. They shipped art supplies to the elementary school in Alabama and received beautiful thank you cards from the kids, made with their new markers and crayons.
“It has just taken off from there,” Rachel Kuster said. “Art is incredibly important to Bethany. She did not think it was fair that every kid did not have their own box of crayons.”
The Kusters started a website at www.colorforkids.net which shows Bethany with some of the supplies collected and where they have been delivered.
Rachel Kuster said the project has spread rapidly, with schools in Fort Myers, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., Boston and Washington, D.C. working on replicating Bethany’s effort.
“I’ve asked her many times, ‘How long do you want to do this?’ Rachel Kuster said. “And she said, ‘Until every kid has their own box of crayons.’ And I said ‘Well, there are millions of kids,’ and she said, ‘I know. I’ll just keep going as long as I have crayons to give.’”
For more information about ESU’s endeavor to help Bethany, contact Dr. Barry at (570) 422-3377 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Bethany’s project, “Color for Kids,” visit www.colorforkids.net.