PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- Teacher Michelle Bettler volunteers at K9s for Warriors, a non-profit on our First Coast that trains service dogs for veterans with PTSD. She sees the power of these rescue dogs to save the lives of suicidal veterans.
So is 5th grade too young to talk about PTSD? Bettler doesn't think so.
She asked K9s for Warriors to bring their service dogs to her classroom at PVPV/Rawlings. Her students, many of whom have family ties to the military, quickly absorbed the issues.
Most said they didn't know what PTSD even was before the classroom visit. But now the students can talk with respect about our veterans dealing with hypervigilance and other struggles involved with PTSD.
The lesson, though, is going beyond awareness. Bettler's students are jumping into a project, which fits their school's work on acts of kindness.
The students each get a "kindness card," and when their parents or teachers sign off on ten kind deeds, their cards are filled.
One student, Nick Nuualiitia, says his acts of kindness are for his neighbor, a military veteran, who needs help with his mail. Nick retrieves his mail for him.
The prize? A feeling of pride. Also, the students can then ask their parents to donate to K9s for Warriors. The students are actually earning the donations.
Assistant Principal, Lisa Brubaker, says the waves of kindness are spreading throughout the school. Students are stopping to help teachers carry loads of books, for example.
Brubaker says the goal is to raise $10,000 to sponsor a dog for K9s for Warriors.
If you'd like to donate to the school's project, click here.