SWEA CITY - When West Bend-Mallard third-grade students heard the story of Dylan Bradford, they decided, "We can help."
Bradford, a seven-year-old from Swea City, entered the world with many problems when he was born Oct. 6, 206 at 2 pounds, 11 ounces. He currently has many health issues including blindness thyroid, seizures, failure to grow, microcephaly, brain atrophy, developmental delays and poor immune system leading to numerous hospitalizations for pneumonia.
Ear infections have caused extreme damage to his ear drums.
Third-graders from West Bend-Mallard presented a check to Tiffani and Dylan Bradford at an assembly in Swea City on Friday.
On Friday, the West Bend-Mallard students visited the North Union School in Swea City to tell how they came to help Bradford and then presented a check for $1,000.25.
The event started with Jill Bollinger and Courtney Stevens, relatives who helped put on a benefit for Bradford in November, who told about how they wanted to help Dylan.
"Small ideas grew," said Bollinger. "Over 400 people were served at the benefit and more attended the auction."
Mrs. Lori Kerns' class at West Bend Mallard saw the story about Dylan and wanted to help out.
The third graders were working on a project in persuasive writing. Rather than write about why kids should have recess all day, everyday, they discussed why it's important to help people.
The class of 17 boys and one girl worked on the Iowa Conception Core Writing unit.
In their words, the class delivered their story line by line as Kerns held took a microphone from student to student in front of the assembly. They told how they learned about "fact vs. opinion," "cause and effect" and "writing about something that truly makes a difference."
The class read about the boy called "Mr. Sunshine" by his teachers and the students said, "Let's give him and his family some sunshine too."
The students also talked about some of the valuable lessons they learned from this experience including:
"It's okay to be different.
"Sharing is caring."
"Writing can make a difference."
"Set your goals high."
"Helping others is a great thing."
"There's power in writing."
They final lesson was a quote from Helen Keller, ""The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
The West Bend-Mallard students also sang two songs for the assembly that included both elementary and middle-school students at Swea City.
The first song ended with, "if you put your hand in my hand, I will be your friend."
They concluded with, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
After presenting the check to Dylan and his mom Tifani, each of the West Bend-Mallard students received a hug from Dylan.
"I can't tell you how wonderful each and everyone of you are," she said.
"Thank you," said Dylan.