Monday, February 6, 2012

PS 39: First "Kids For Wish Kids" School Program!

As Miss Staten Island 2012, I am working hard to get kids involved in both volunteering and fundraising. New York was ranked 51st out of the 50 states and Washington D.C. with our 20% volunteer rate (which I have stated before, and will continue to mention until it changes). If we can encourage kids to begin donating their time help others at a young age, they will most likely continue on through adulthood and help New York to raise this percentage!

This is where the Make-A-Wish Foundation comes in. The Make-A-Wish Foundation promotes a program for children entitled, "Kids For Wish Kids." The goal is to encourage kids to produce, organize, and "run" their own fundraisers, under the supervision of an adult, for the foundation. As part of my platform, I am introducing this program to schools across the island - beginning with PS 39.

I visited the school on Friday, February 3rd, wearing my red dress because it was also "Wear Red Day" (to show support for the National Heart Association's "Go Red For Women" campaign).  With the help of the Principal, Mrs. Tracey Wright, and my mother (and teacher at the school), Dawn Macchia, I was able to introduce not only the possibility of getting involved with "Kids For Wish Kids," but also the idea of "Wish For Change" - a specific fundraising project that they can work on!

"Wish For Change" began last Friday at this elementary school, and will continue until Friday, March 2nd! Each classroom will have a "change jar," which will be used to collect coins throughout a period of 3 school weeks (this is not including their President's Week break). All of this money will be donated directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York upon completion!

I told the children that I did not want them to simply ask their parents or family members for money, but rather to try to raise it on their own - through doing chores, selling baked goods, etc.! They seemed extremely excited about getting started on the project...maybe because I promised a pizza party with Miss Staten Island to the class who collected the most money : ]

The day was so much fun and because I was feeling under the weather, it was extra-special to have received such a warm welcome from the school. After speaking at two assemblies and visiting several classrooms, I was finally able to speak with the group of kids I had been waiting for - class 4-305. This fourth grade class had been working on collecting for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, even prior to my arrival! I was interested to learn from them.

In an earlier assembly, representatives from the class presented me with a bouquet of tissue paper flowers and a sash that read, "Miss Make-A-Wish!" I was shocked and thankful! They were beautiful!

This class had been working on collecting "box tops." For each one, 10 cents will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They showed me what they've accumulated so far, and explained to me the process of collecting them from other classes and sorting them to make sure that each is valid. I am so proud of these students because they exemplify exactly what I wish to achieve this year as Miss Staten Island. It is so amazing to see kids so young working for a greater cause and understanding exactly how big of an impact they can actually have.

Class 4-305 with their box top signs! 
Before my day was done, I had to meet the young girl who told every teacher she was "going to explode" from excitement! When I met her, she actually looked like she was going to explode - she was SO EXCITED! Now, she says, her "life is complete." : ]

My biggest fan :]
Obviously, it was an eventful and inspiring day at PS 39. I can't say it enough - thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone at the school helping the children make this event a success! I can't wait to see how much money can be raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation when a school community comes together! I'll be back soon!

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