'Mile of Smiles' drive provides nearly $10,000 to family displaced by home explosion
FARGO It wasn't quite a mile, but it certainly did bring out the smiles. More than 600 students lined up on the football field at Fargo's Carl Ben Eielson Middle School on Monday morning to celebrate a fund drive that raised nearly $10,000 for a ...
It wasn't quite a mile, but it certainly did bring out the smiles.
More than 600 students lined up on the football field at Fargo's Carl Ben Eielson Middle School on Monday morning to celebrate a fund drive that raised nearly $10,000 for a family displaced by a Sept. 2 twinhome explosion.
The money collected during the 10-day drive - dubbed "A Mile of Smiles" - will benefit the families of seventh-grader Mohamed Ahmed and eighth-grader Fardowsa Dahir, who attend the school.
Both were living in the south Fargo twinhome unit next to the one leveled in the natural gas explosion. Dahir's sister, Luul Omar, was badly burned and is recovering at a Minneapolis hospital.
The cousins joined their classmates Monday on the frost-covered football field, forming lines the width of the field and 2½ yards apart.
It took almost an hour to assemble the rows and roll out the hundreds of feet of yellow ribbon stapled with green fake dollar bills. With the blast of a whistle, the students shook the tape over their heads and cheered.
"It's good," a shy Dahir said of the event.
Carl Ben's student advisory groups were challenged by teachers and each other to fill 100 feet of ribbon per group, said social studies teacher Beth Ekre, who helped students organize the event with math teacher Alicia Collins.
With 50-plus advisory groups, the goal was to fill 5,280 feet of ribbon.
"We had some students doing lemonade stands. We had students selling coupon books, just really creative things to get to (the goal)," Ekre said. "It kind of took on a life of its own."
Eighth-grader Beth Boatman, who said her classmate Dahir is "cool" with "an amazing smile," happily donated $10 that she earned doing yard work.
"We all kind of came together because we're such a big family here at Carl Ben Eielson," Boatman said.
In just 10 days, students and teachers raised $9,566 - not quite enough to fill a mile of ribbon, but more than enough to surprise the beneficiaries.
"(It) means a lot to our family," Ahmed said.
Dahir, who like her cousin was nervous and somewhat embarrassed by the attention, managed to squeak out some appreciative words for her schoolmates.
"Thank you," she said, smiling.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.