2009-06-11 / Top News

Elementary students learn that change can make a difference

SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY

Charity for Change launched its School

Giver" Program on a pilot basis at Calusa Park and Lely elementary schools last fall, and since then the schools have collected more than $10,000 in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

"Change does count," says Karen Conley, CEO of Charity for Change. "These kids are showing us that even in these challenging economic times, they can work together to make a big impact for those in need."

Teachers start a School "Giver" session at www.charityforchange.org, where their students are given three charities to research. After learning about the chari- ties, the students vote to adopt one for their class and then set a donation goal for the session. They are encouraged to bring whatever loose change they can each day to their classroom and deposit the change in the classroom "bank" that is supplied by Charity for Change.

Charities for the first School "Giver" session shared a theme of food, shelter and emergency services. Participating classrooms elected to raise money for the American Red Cross, CARE, Guadalupe Center, Habitat for Humanity, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Heifer Project International, Hope for Haiti, Laces of Love and St. Matthew's House. In the second session of the program, which is under way now, students are raising funds for two health-related nonprofit organizations: the Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile and Naples Equestrian Challenge.

Charity for Change supplies lesson plans for teachers that engage students in language arts and math and that promote charity themes and character traits including tolerance, responsibility, perseverance, self-control, charity, honesty, fairness and integrity. The lesson plans and math game questions were developed by Calusa Park and Lely teachers Debbie Graham, Laurie Henning and Gina Napoli, with publication editing by C. Paul Holimon and Ruth Clark.

"I'm amazed by my students' willingness to give to others and inspire one another through their donations," says Ms. Napoli.

Students who log on to the Web site to play the Counting for Charity math game can earn an additional $3 for their classroom bank every week from Charity for Change community partners. Among the School "Giver" Program community partners are The 2nd Change Foundation, Bridger Construction, 4What Interactive, Gravina Smith & Matte, Hibiscus Publishing, Pauli Systems, Soldavini Accounting and Wal-Mart.

Charity for Change was established in 2006 with seed monies from The 2nd Chance Foundation to encourage giving as a way of life for all ages. For more information, call Ms. Conley at 592-6787 or visit www.charityforchange.org.

Return to top