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Local students send hope to Japan in form of 2,000 cranes
web 0410 Cranes
Lona Laveronis fifth-grade class at Diamond Elementary examine 2,000 cranes that they made for a foundation that will donate $2 per crane toward rebuilding efforts in Japan. - photo by Seraine Page

On Monday morning, Diamond Elementary students and staff will see off the shipment of 2,000 paper cranes to Japan in an effort to bring a message of hope and love to an area fraught with despair. 
For every crane made, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2 to Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts in Japan. Diamond Elementary students started making origami paper cranes before spring break to send to their Japanese peers miles away from the coastal Georgia area where earthquakes and tsunamis are relatively rare.
Shortly after the March 11 earthquake that sent a tsunami crashing over the small country of Japan, librarians across the United States started sending out information about the project to get the word out that there was something that everyone could do: make a paper crane.
“Our students are very excited and have been making a lot of them in their spare time. It is a way for them to reach out and do a good thing for others in need,” said Lisa Romans, the Diamond Elementary librarian who discovered the project online.
 Romans taught Lona Laveroni’s fifth-grade class how to make the cranes and those students, in turn, taught children in other grades how to make the paper ornaments.
As a result, Laveroni’s class alone made 1,000 cranes.
“I’m always for a good cause,” Laveroni said. “We wrote wishes of hope on some of them. It’s a hard thing to go through. It’s going to take them a long time to rebuild.”
The message of sending 2,000 cranes to another country made fifth-grader Aliyah Jenkins feel like she was taking part in something big, something hopeful.
“We’re going to share the love with them and there’s always going be hope,” Jenkins said of the message of the cranes. “To me, it means love and that we’re going help them. Since we’re not in need like that, we feel like we should help them. We get to share the love with the people of Japan.”
Cranes are considered sacred creatures in the Japanese culture and “according to legend, anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane,” states, a website dedicated to helping students help others. After 100,000 submissions have been received by the foundation, the cranes will be woven into an art installation, according to a news release.

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