Depositing $2,785.50 in the bank is exciting no matter how old you are. And if you’ve worked to collect all of the funds yourself, you might be so excited that you couldn’t possibly sit still!
This was the case last Thursday as fourth grade students from Graland Country Day School skipped into Young Americans Bank to make a deposit as part of the Spark Change program. Spark Change is a K-8 curriculum that provides a hands-on lesson in philanthropy and leadership as students collect change and then donate their time and talent to local causes. Student leaders have worked on the program throughout the fall, researching causes and collecting change, and their deposit means they are nearing the end. “We have just one more week to go,” said Library Coordinator and program head Linda Sears who supervised the deposit. Students Molly, Tomas, Emory, and Jacob were on-hand to help.
Service learning is important to Graland, a private Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade school in Denver. According to its website, “Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.” Ms. Sears echoed this mission, saying, “We’ve been doing the Spark Change program for years because we want to help our community. It’s important for all students.”
Spark Change provides a hands-on approach to philanthropy. “I did some extra chores at my house to help earn more money,” said nine-year-old Molly. “And I brought in $41–just me!” Tomas raised $1,000 on a Go Fund Me site that his dad helped him set up. Jacob went into every classroom with posters and information so the school would know what the change drive was all about. And next week, the group plans to picket the “Kiss ‘N Go” drop off line at school to raise even more.
Although the group hasn’t narrowed down their nonprofits just yet, they have decided to dedicate their funds to help the environment, to the homeless, and to health–one third to each. “It feels really good to know that we’re helping people and our earth,” said Tomas.
Morgan Levy, Assistant Vice President at Young Americans Bank, assisted the group with their deposit, spending most of the time at the change machine. Although she’s helped hundreds of young people with their deposits, this day was particularly memorable. “It’s really fun to get to see how much the students bring in through Spark Change,” she said. “And it’s inspiring, too–change really all adds up!”
To learn more about Spark Change or to introduce this program to your students, contact Program Coordinator Kelsie Byrd at firstname.lastname@example.org.