How Can I Help?
Do Not Stand Idly By

Do Not Stand Idly By
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.9

     challenging words:    firsthand, Trick-or, destruction, helping, billion, fundraising, overseas, education, website, motto, traveled, destructive, fail, receive, homeless, landfall
     content words:    Hurricane Katrina, Talia Leman, Governor Vilsack, Trick-or Treat, Levee Catastrophe

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Do Not Stand Idly By
By Jody Williams

1     In 2005, a storm formed in the Bahamas. It crossed over Florida causing some damage. It traveled into the Gulf of Mexico where it gained strength. It weakened a bit before making landfall in Louisiana. The storm was still destructive. Many people lost their lives and property. The powerful storm caused the levee system to fail. A levee is a slope or wall. It helps control the water levels. It is found near a coast or river. During this storm, the levee system could not hold the water back. Experts named the storm Hurricane Katrina. They say it is one of the deadliest storms to hit the U.S.
2     Talia Leman was ten years old when she first learned about the damage of Hurricane Katrina. She also learned that the cost of the damages was more than eighty billion dollars. Talia was shocked by the destruction. She wanted to do something to help. Talia started in her own community. Her first fundraising effort happened on Halloween night. It is a tradition for many children to trick-or-treat on the night of October 31. Children go door to door saying trick-or-treat. They usually receive a candy treat. Talia's idea was for kids to go trick-or-treating but to ask for coins for the hurricane victims instead of candy. Talia wanted to reach out past her own community, too. She set up a website and shared her idea with other children across the nation. She told the governor of her state about her idea. Governor Vilsack of Iowa promised to share her idea with other governors from the around the nation. Those governors shared the idea with their states. Talia's idea became known as "Trick-or Treat for the Levee Catastrophe." Talia's first effort raised over two hundred twenty-five thousand dollars for the cause.
3     Talia did not stop there. She continued to inspire other children to help. She told them that they could make a difference in the life of someone else. Her motto became "anyone is someone." Hundreds of kids in Iowa wrote letters and colored pictures for kids that had to live in shelters because their homes were destroyed in the storm. A local store donated one thousand six hundred dollars in gift cards. Talia and her friends used the gift cards to shop for the children. The letters, pictures, and gifts were delivered to the Louisiana shelter by adult volunteers.

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