Young Americans Blog

Students Make a Big Difference By Collecting Loose Change

Most likely when an adult finds a penny on the ground, they pass right by it thinking, “How can a penny make a difference?” On the other hand, students have the opposite reaction. In fact, in their eyes they are that penny. More importantly, they see endless possibilities in what that penny can do. And, they know that when students come together just like when pennies come together, they can make a big change in their communities.

Bags of change collected from schools participating in Spark Change, service learning program.

Young Americans’ newly launched service learning and leadership development program, Spark Change, is offered free of charge to K-8 schools. Spark Change offers students a formalized program to evaluate and decide how they want to give back to their community and make a difference in the world all by collecting loose change. Collected funds can be used to give to a non-profit organization or to complete a service project.

How Spark Change works:

  • The student body identifies issues or needs within their community.
  • A small group of student leaders research and interview non-profit organizations who address those issues or needs.
  • The student body comes together to collect change from family members, friends, and community partners.
  • After collection drives, student leaders evaluate available funding with potential recipients
  • Student leaders take action by either granting funds to those organizations they feel best fit their community’s needs or by completing service projects that help address those issues.

What is unique about this educational program is the fact that it does not matter if the students collect $50 or $500. All that matters is these students are determining through a formal process how best to make a positive impact in their community.

This fall, sixteen schools embarked in the Spark Change program and raised $32,465.83 in loose change. Eight more schools will start the program in early 2017.

To learn more about Spark Change, contact Kelsie Byrd at kbyrd@yacenter.org.

 

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