Low Students Continue Generous Ways with Pennies for Patients Effort
Students across CCSD59 are never shy about sharing their generosity with friends, family, and neighbors in need. Those at Juliette Low have been some of the brightest examples of this fact in recent years.
Many efforts the Tigers put together are spearheaded by the Kids Care Club, which came to fruition just over five years ago thanks to teachers Vandana Pardiwala and Nancy Odon. The original desire was to help a single family, but the focus of each fundraiser soon shifted to giving back to the entire community.
“That first year, we raised over $1,000,” said Pardiwala. “It’s been an overwhelming show of support from our community and the total has gone up every year.”
At the start of each school year, Ms. Pardiwala lays out the focus of three separate fundraisers. Club members recently took part in a “Souper Bowl” which yielded 171 cans of food and other miscellaneous items to donate. Other collections include winter weather gear and gently used school supplies as the club takes part in recycling awareness and Macy’s Letter to Santa in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Now, the club is partnering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for a fundraiser called Pennies for Patients. The program partners schools with local cancer patients and provides an avenue to fundraise. It also adds a unique portion to the STEM curriculum that allows students to see where their money is invested and educates them on the society’s research.
“The kids love to help. I always tell them every penny counts and they truly hold me to that. My first year, we had about 20 students participate. This year, we had an overwhelming number of 70 students who wanted to help. They all want to know who are we going to help.”
The students get extra incentive from Juliette Low Principal Susan Ejma, who routinely agrees to perform a challenge should the collection goal be met. The club raised over $1,600 last year at this time, allowing students to shower Mrs. Ejma with silly string. At an assembly last week, fifth grade students revealed that Mrs. Ejma would read a story from the roof of the elementary building should more than $2,000 be raised.
Each project combines students from two grade levels in order to build strong teamwork between children of different ages. This current project partners fifth graders with first graders, and the results have been extraordinary.
“It is so exciting to know that we are doing something to helping others in need,” said Pardiwala. “I know our staff and community are very supportive in helping us reach our goals.”