HARDYSTON-Second-graders at the Hardyston Elementary School in Franklin raised nearly $500 by completing chores at home, in which the received an allowance and donated whatever portion they wanted to help support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The school-wide project was spearheaded by second-grade teacher Nancy Margarum to supplement the social studies curriculum about what is considered a good citizen. "We have been talking about what character traits a good citizen has and we have been encouraging these character traits in our students to prepare them for real life experiences," said Margarum. When the 2004 hurricane season wreaked havoc on the southeastern U.S., causing the American Red Cross to launch the largest natural disaster relief operation in its 123 years, Margarum decided she could bring the social studies lesson home by encouraging the children to help the devastated communities through the Red Cross. "The American Red Cross does not receive any money from the state or the federal governments and utilizes 97 volunteers for every one paid employee," said Kristi Schutz, director of programs and services for the Sussex County American Red Cross chapter, to the second-graders. "In fact, as I'm standing here, talking to you today, four of our volunteers are in Florida and another three are on their way to the airport now to go to Alabama to help in the relief effort. They will each be gone for two-to-three weeks. So you can see that when something huge happens like these hurricanes or something small, like a fire at your neighbor's house, the American Red Cross needs your help to insure that everyone has shelter, clothing, food, medication and counseling. We rely on good citizens to donate money and time as a volunteer. By participating in this project, you have done both and the Red Cross thanks you for the difference you've made."