Kathy Moffett initially set a goal of $200 for her second-grade class’ Common Cents fundraiser for Jackson County United Way.
After Seymour-Redding Elementary School students met that total in the first week, she upped the goal to $300.
The kids topped that the next week, so she moved it to $600.
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In the end, the school collected $601.68. Plus, the school’s parent-teacher organization promised to donate $200 if the goal was met, so that put the total
The news then got even better.
The Indiana Association of United Ways matches any new donations more than $100, so the school’s contribution wound up being $1,603.36.
It’s safe to say the kids exceeded Moffett’s expectations.
“It was nice to see them just look outside into the community and not necessarily just inside our building or to their own families but to look outside to Jackson County and see what they can give to somebody else,” Moffett said.
When the class started the penny drive in September, Moffett had Sean Hildreth, resource development director for Jackson County United Way, visit and talk about what the local agency does and the definition of philanthropy.
Moffett wanted Hildreth to come back to the school at the end of the fundraiser and explain how the money will be used. Jackson County United Way supports 20 partner agencies.
“I thought it would be really nice to see where some of these monies go and who they’ve helped so they can understand better what their money is going for,” Moffett said.
Hildreth recently visited with students during lunchtime and praised their efforts. He had them raise their hands up and pat themselves on the back and also chant, “1, 2, 3, Live United.”
“A little bit at any time can make a real big difference,” Hildreth said to the students.
Hildreth said the fundraiser speaks volumes of the leadership at Redding along with the kids and parents.
“Everybody is involved in setting up those kids to be givers, to be contributors to their community,” Hildreth said. “Coming back and seeing what they did is amazing to me. It’s an inspiration.”
It’s the United Way’s job to raise money throughout the year to help people in the county, and he said it’s great to have kids be a part of
“It inspires me because I feel like we’re doing the right thing. We’re helping create a generation of givers at a young age,” he said.
“For me personally, I had a lot of experiences like that growing up myself where I realized the importance of giving back to the community through mentors, family members, just seeing their example. I hope we can be that to these kids, just be a good example.”
Hildreth said Redding’s successful fundraiser could encourage other area schools to follow suit.
“We do hope next year there will be other schools that take inspiration from this and get their kids
involved and make an impact here in Jackson County,” he said. “If it inspires other kids to do it next year, what’s more fun than a competition that has a cause involved?”
The Redding kids proved a donation as small as a penny can go a long way.
“I think it does a lot to stress that collective impact, like what people can do together. That’s really what our campaign is about,” Hildreth said. “We’re not looking for one donor to give a million dollars. We’re looking for a lot of people to give a little bit each and make a contribution and be a part of that collective impact.”
Moffett took the money collected to the bank once a week, and she said it was neat to see the whole school pull together.
“It was amazing to see those pennies, nickels and dimes,” she said. “Even those students that would say, ‘This is all I can give,’ and it would be one penny, I said, ‘That’s fine.’ That was the best because they gave what they could, and they gave from the heart.”
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For information about Jackson County United Way and its 20 partner agencies, visit jacsy.org or call 812-522-5450.
The local United Way office is in the Community Agency Building in downtown Seymour at 113 N. Chestnut St., Suite 301.