What do you get when you multiply two best friends with a powerful cause? The answer is a school community club that’s raised money for families of sick children, cleaned up the environment, supported the troops and made plans to collect supplies for an animal shelter. We chose Josie A. and Courtney M. as this month’s kid heroes because for them, making the world a better place isn’t just talk — they’re doing something about it!
“We started a community service club in September,” Josie said. She and Courtney are fourth graders at The New School in Fayetteville.
Courtney said it began one day at recess. “I was bummed out when we saw how much trash was in the drain ditches, the grass and around the playground at our school.” They asked their teacher if they could get a trash bag to clean up the grounds, “and we did that for a couple of days.” But then they decided it should be a daily thing, and so the community service club was born.
Josie’s mom is the club sponsor. She teaches fourth grade at the school, where children are encouraged to start special interest clubs. To organize one, “They have to come up with a proposal, ll out a form, get a teacher-sponsor to sign off on it and write out a description,” said Josie’s mom. “The sponsor is willing to meet with them throughout the school year.”
“At our first meeting, we asked, ‘who all can we help?’” Josie said.
There are eight members of the club, which is for kids from first grade through fourth. They meet every week to make plans for the next week and for future projects.
It will be hard to top one amazing campaign they helped with called Pennies for Patients, a fundraiser sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or LLS. “We raised money that went to pay for gas and food,” Courtney explained. “It was for relatives of leukemia and lymphoma patients.” These serious diseases are a kind of blood cancer. Families with kids or other loved ones battling cancer have to travel often for treatment. It gets very expensive.
New School kids wanted to help because two students there — in the first grade, the other in the third — are cancer survivors.
The kids got in touch with LLS to find out what they could do to help. “Somebody came to our school and told what they needed and talked about what leukemia was like,” said Josie.
After that, an assembly was held to announce a grade level challenge for K-4 to see which grade could raise the most money in the Pennies for Patients campaign. Josie and Courtney’s class set up a table with a container for donations — not just pennies, of course, but dollars and checks.
The Community Club helped sort the money. They hung a poster and made announcements for three weeks with information about leukemia. “We filled in the leaderboards. Each grade level had one.” Leaderboards are scoreboards. They kept track of the money raised by the competing grades.
Mrs. A. said the fourth-grade goal was to raise $750. But they raised a whopping $3,700 and won the campaign! These funds went to the Society to be given to the families needing nancial assistance for fuel and food. Community Club members also helped with a candy drive last fall for the troops overseas. As Courtney explained, “We gave boxes of candy leftover from Halloween. Dentists paid for it by the pound and sent the candy in care packages.” For Veterans Day, November 11, the club made cards and handed them out at the Veterans Administration in Fayetteville.
The kids are currently making plans to have a spring-cleaning drive to collect used blankets and towels for the animal shelter. Josie and Courtney want other kids to get involved in doing good. Josie said, “Instead of watching TV or being on your phone, go outside and see what you can do, like clean up trash or make holiday cards for others. You could go through your toys and give them to the homeless.”
Courtney told how she and her mom were at the Farmers Market one day when the humane society was there. “We saw all these sad dogs. We adopted one, Brady. When we first got him, he was really skittish and scared. All the dogs were scared and thin. I just wanted to change that. My goal is to help the world to be a better place.”
These awesome girls and the community service club they started are doing great things to make the world better. What will you do?