Bracelets For Bancroft: Lemon Avenue Elementary Fourth Grader Raises Over $700 For Neighboring Students Displaced From School By Recent Floods

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When Sonja Bella Hans, a 4th grader at Lemon Avenue Elementary in La Mesa, heard about the impact of the recent rain and floods on students at nearby Bancroft Elementary School, she was compelled to do something to help. So she started making friendship bracelets with a goal of raising $100 to help students in need at her neighboring school.

The “Bracelets For Bancroft” campaign began selling Sonja’s handmade friendship bracelets on Tuesday, February 13th, and by the end of the week, the school’s support had surpassed Sonja’s initial goal by almost 700%, with nearly $700 being raised.

Bancroft Students Displaced From School

Bancroft suffered widespread damage from the rains, with new flooring being required for the entire school. Students have been temporarily relocated to Spring Valley Academy Middle School, requiring all of the students to adjust to a new environment. For Sonja, whose school was spared any widespread damage, there was a need to do something to help.

“We were talking in class one day, and about how the flood affected a lot of people,” said Sonja. They mentioned this school called Bancroft, and I was thinking in my mind, ‘Could I do something?’ “So I went home that night, told my mom and my dad, and we wrote a presentation to do for Mrs. Jager.”

Schoolwide Support


Miss Jager is Natalie Jager, Principal of Lemon Avenue Elementary. “Right after the initial rains, I had asked teachers if anyone wanted to have their classroom make cards for the students at Bancroft. So [Sonja’s] class made cards for the fourth-grade class. I think that got Sonja thinking and about a week later she stopped by to chat with me and she had this bag of bracelets in her hand.

“She said, ‘I have this idea. I want to raise money for a fourth grader at Bancroft, someone maybe who’s been impacted by the flood.’ So I reached out to the president of the PTA and asked if they would be willing to help a young lady fundraise for Bancroft. And of course, they said ‘absolutely.’”

Sonja and her mother set up a table each day after school and in the four days of the initial sale, hundreds of students participated and supported the effort. Visitors to the school will see scores of students’ arms adorned with bracelets, which is a point of connection to one another as well as their peers at Bancroft.

Sonja’s mother, Charlotte Hans, recalls that Sonja came to her parents with an idea fully formed, including the name, “Bracelets for Bancroft.” And seeing the campaign received well has been a source of pride and gratification. “It’s overwhelming to see the support for this. She feels very grateful for the opportunity to engage in this endeavor and to contribute back to her community. It’s very important to her and very important to our families.”

Reception From Bancroft


Ms. Jager has spoken to her counterpoint at Bancroft, Principal Nathan Saucedo, who saw a post on Instagram about the effort. “I saw Nathan at a meeting and he said, ‘I saw your post on Instagram – that is incredible,’ and he just had this huge smile on his face.” The school leaders are in touch to determine the best way to utilize the funds to support students at Bancroft.

While the initial concept was to sell the bracelets for one week, there is consideration to expand the effort in the future. Says Sonja’s mother, Charlotte Hans, “ The support from our school’s parents has been overwhelming. Miss Jager posted about it and I think parents said, ‘Okay, here’s the money for some bracelets and let’s go support the cause.’ think that the school has come together as a community.”

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