School ‘pays it forward’ for family displaced by fire

Fire destroys home in South Kingstown.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — As students leave their classrooms for winter break, there’s one group in South Kingstown who’s making a big impact far beyond the walls of their school.

Not even old enough yet to drive, and the kids have kicked off a “pay it forward” campaign to help raise money for an area family whose home was destroyed by fire.

When flames ripped through the Jones’ family home on Plains Road the week of Thanksgiving the community stepped in to help – and a class project took on a whole new meaning.

The family, including three school-aged children, all survived the fire, but lost everything they had. At the same time, Curtis Corner Middle School teacher Kate Bucci was working on a lesson with her students on paying it forward.

“You can get something out of it, but that’s not the reason to do it,” said Jack Schold, one of Bucci’s students. “You pay it forward to help someone in need and just make their day a little better, and they may make your day better.”

The video project includes students and teachers. After the fire and realizing the home belonged to one of their peers, the video was dedicated to the Jones family, serving as a launching pad to raise money to help them get back on their feet.

“It is surreal. All you want is to impact them and to see it reach so many people,” said Bucci, tearing up. “It’s extremely humbling.”

Photos: Fire destroys home in South Kingstown. View Photos »
Photos: Fire destroys home in South Kingstown. View Photos »

Bucci couldn’t help but get emotional as her lesson plan expanded beyond her dreams with more than 3,000 views on YouTube in just a matter of days. But perhaps more importantly – it changed behavior within the school.

“Since the video aired, our school has just been so much better, and such a better environment for the students,” added Schold.

The group said the community has donated thousands of dollars to help the Jones family. Click here to donate.

Watch the schools pay it forward video below:

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