Collecting canned goods for the local food pantry. Donating hats, mittens, coats and other items of warm clothing to families in need. Collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House. Jumping Rope for Heart to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Writing letters to Santa to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation. Making blankets for Caring Connections.
Throughout the school year, District 58 students and staff participate in a wide variety of service projects to benefit organizations and individuals in our community and around the world. These projects not only make a big difference for those who receive the items and donations, they also cultivate a spirit of giving, civic responsibility, generosity and compassion in the next generation of leaders.58 Doing Good was created to showcase for our community the wonderful service projects completed by District 58’s students, staff and schools, and to serve as a connector between organizations in need of help and classes/groups within District 58 who might be looking for a service project to complete.
We hope you enjoy reading about the hard work and generosity of our students and staff in service of their community, which will be featured in our Service Spotlight. Look for the leaf icon for opportunities to get involved or contribute to a cause or organization being supported by our students!
To submit a news item or photo(s) about a service project within District 58, e-mail details to email@example.com.
If you are a part of (or know of) a service organization within District 58 who needs help with a particular project, such as a coat drive or book collection, please check out “We Need Help”.
If you are a District 58 teacher or club sponsor looking for a local organization to assist with a particular project, please check out “We Want to Help”.
We Need Help
Community organizations located in and around Downers Grove Grade School District 58 who are looking for a helping hand can e-mail contact information and details to District 58 Communications Coordinator Jennie Waldorf at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include We Need Help in the subject heading.
We Want to Help
District 58 classes and clubs seeking a service project idea can e-mail Communications Coordinator Jennifer Waldorf at email@example.com.
District 58 schools support Rare Disease Day
Several District 58 schools participated in awareness and fundraising activities related to Rare Disease Day 2014, an event created by the Global Genes Project. The Global Genes Project is one of the leading rare and genetic disease patient advocacy organizations in the world.
Kingsley School hosted an afternoon celebration called "Dance Off Disease," in which each classroom signed up for a 15-minute time slot to dance in the gym to a DJ. Students were asked to bring in a dollar to dance off disease, but still had the opportunity to dance without making a donation. The student council also ordered denim ribbons from Global Genes project for students to wear all day on Feb. 27. Rare Disease Day is a cause near and dear to the hearts of Kingsley students and staff, as Noah and Lanie Van Houtan, who suffer from Batten Disease, are students in the School Association for Special Education in DuPage (SASED) classroom at Kingsley.
"Raising money to help cure rare diseases is an important one for me and close to the heart of all of us who have met both Noah and Lanie, and other children like them," said student council sponsor Ashley Bidlencik.
The Lester School student council sponsored a fundraiser for the Global Genes Project and observed World Rare Disease Day during the week of February 24. Lester’s goal was to raise awareness and money for those living with rare diseases, including three students in District 58. Students and teachers purchased Blue Denim Genes Ribbons™ for a suggested donation of $1. In addition, teachers could pay a dollar a day for the privilege of wearing jeans. On Thursday, February 27, teachers and students wore their favorite pair of jeans and their ribbons to show their support for this important cause.
Whittier School will participate in Rare Disease Day "jeans for genes" activities on March 27.
El Sierra students jump rope for a good cause
El Sierra students participated last month in Jump Rope for Heart, raising $1,700 for the American Heart Association!
Hillcrest, Kingsley students to have heads shaved at St. Baldrick's events
Later this month, several District 58 students will be having their heads shaved to raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation “is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.” Volunteers raise money by promising to shave their heads at special events, and in turn show solidarity with children who are currently undergoing cancer treatment.
For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit www.stbaldricks.org.
On March 16, a team of three Hillcrest second-grade students, along with a friend and former neighbor from Westmont, will be having their heads shaved at the fifth annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation event beginning at 11 a.m. at the Kerry Piper in Willowbrook.
The students joined together last year to form a team, Abby’s Army, in honor of one of the students’ relatives who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of four. Matt, Declan, Eryn and their friend Jack are more than a third of the way towards their $8,000 fundraising goal, and are proud and excited to participate in the event again this year.
The Downers Grove community is encouraged to come out and support Matt, Declan, Eryn and Jack in their endeavor. The Kerry Piper is located at 7900 Joliet Road, Willowbrook.
For more information about the fundraiser, visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/kerrypiper. To make a donation to the Abby’s Army fundraising effort, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/mypage/89280/2014.
Isabel, a fourth-grader at Kingsley School, will be having her head shaved at a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser at Ballydoyle on Thursday, March 13. The event begins at 7 p.m.
She wanted to participate last year, and her mother asked her to think about it; this year she is as committed as ever. Isabel has hosted lemonade sales and looks for extra chores to do around the house to raise money for the March 13 fundraiser.
For more information about the event at Ballydoyle, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/6221/2014/. To donate towards Isabel’s fundraising goal for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit https://www.stbaldricks.org/donate/participant/683171.
Fairmount families donate 3,500 items to shelter
As part of Fairmount School's One Book One School program, the student council invited students to participate in a donation challenge to benefit Family Shelter Service. Families are reading a book called "The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs," and many of the activities are connected to what makes Downers Grove such a special community. From Feb. 3-14, children could bring in items such as home goods, items for babies and children, toiletries and office supplies. Altogether, the student council ended up collecting a staggering 3,500 items to the shelter. When the items were dropped off, Family Shelter Service volunteers were nearly brought to tears, and said it was one of the largest donations they could recall receiving.
O’Neill students shave staffers’ heads for St. Baldrick’s
On Feb. 7, amid cheers from the entire student body, nine O’Neill Middle School staffers had their heads shaved to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
O’Neill students were given the challenge of raising $500 for St. Baldrick’s; in just four days, they raised more than $3,200, and the fundraising total is now up past $3,500.
The top five fundraising teams at O’Neill were put in a hat for the chance to shave a staff member’s head during the assembly. First up was the organizer, science teacher Meg Van Dyke, who had her head shaved at last year’s St. Baldrick’s event at Downers Grove South High School. She was followed by Principal Matt Durbala and seven other teachers and staff members who were “selected” by the students’ chants and cheers.
The money raised by the O’Neill students will be sent to O’Neill alum Abby Davis, who started a St.Baldrick’s chapter at her college and will be having her head shaved for the cause on March 5. Through the power of Skype, Davis was able to “watch” the Feb.7 O’Neill assembly from West Virginia and personally thank the students and staff members for their generosity.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds research to find cures for childhood cancers and promote long, healthy lives for survivors.
Henry Puffer makes big donation to Ronald McDonald House
A recent inter-class competition at Henry Puffer School resulted in a total of 143 pounds of pop tabs being collected for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. The winning class was Jan Nelson's first grade (pictured at right with the Henry Puffer student council)!
Belle Aire Soup for Super Bowl food drive brings in 200+ items
To add to the excitement the week preceding the Super Bowl, Belle Aire students brought in non-perishable food items and placed them in a box decorated with either a Broncos or a Seahawks logo and colors.
We all know the official results, but at Belle Aire the Broncos won with 109 items over the Seahawks with 101 items. The real winner is the FISH food pantry, which will receive a total of 210 food items from Belle Aire!
Fairmount families participating in donation challenge
As part of the One Book, One School program at Fairmount School, students have been invited to participate in a donation challenge to benefit Family Shelter Service. From Feb. 3-14, children can bring in items such as gift cards, towels, hand soap, baby lotion and diapers, toothpaste and office supplies. The classroom with the most donations over the two-week period will receive a surprise!
District 58 schools donating for FISH van
The FISH food pantry in Downers Grove is raising funds to purchase a new cargo van for food pickups and deliveries, and several District 58 schools have signed on to help.
In honor of the 100th day of school on Feb. 11, each grade level at Henry Puffer School is collecting 100of a particular item for FISH. The sixth graders are collecting funds to donate for the van, and other grade-level collections include 100 cans of soup, 100 cans of vegetables, and 100 boxes of pasta.
El Sierra School also will be donating $100 to the FISH van fundraiser using money they have collected from school fundraisers such as Holiday Smencils and anti-bully bracelets. The El Sierra student council also conducted its annual SOUP-er Bowl last week. There were two bins, one for each team playing the Super Bowl, and the students brought in cans of soup and placed them in their favorite team's bin. All soup was donated to the FISH pantry. The Pierce Downer student council, which works with FISH each year, has asked staff to donate money to wear jeans each day this week to raise money for the FISH van. O’Neill Middle School is donating part of the proceeds from their Valentine’s Day candy grams to the FISH van campaign, and Whittier plans to donate $100 to FISH using money from their Valentine's Day fundraiser: the sale of Charms lollipops, in hopes that students have a "charming" Valentine's Day!
Belle Aire students serve as guest ringers for Salvation Army
Belle Aire sixth grade students and their families were guest Salvation Army bell ringers outside Fry's Electronics December 14! The activity was organized by the Dennison family, and was sparked by the class reading a story about people donating their time to ring a bell and collect money.
"We had a good time discussing the story and making some connections. Kim Dennison, one of my many awesome parents, was motivated to call the Salvation Army to see if it was possible to have a group come and volunteer time to ring for the Salvation Army one Saturday. They said yes and this parent sent out a signup sheet. It filled up quickly with other families from our class," said Belle Aire sixth-grade teacher Tricia Miller.
A total of 10 families participated, each covering a half-hour shift, and they had a wonderful time while making a difference.
"The kids have already asked about getting together next year to participate again!" Miller said.
O'Neill Middle School students raised nearly $500 for Santa Good Cause last month.
O'Neill collects for Santa Good Cause
"During a time when we have so many great groups engaging in community service and raising funds for worthy causes, it is very heartwarming to see O'Neill go the extra mile," said social worker Charlie Caton. "It is wonderful to see so many of our students and staff helping to make this holiday season a little bit brighter for families in the community!"
El Sierra students write letters for Make a Wish project
The students of El Sierra took part in the Macy's Make a Wish project again this year. The students wrote letters to Santa which were collected and dropped off at Macy's. Each letter translated to $1 donated to the Make a Wish Foundation by Macy's. El Sierra students from kindergarten all the way to sixth grade wrote a total of 292 letters! What a difference they made!
El Sierra fifth grade packs meals for Feed My Starving Children
The fifth grade students at El Sierra recently had a blast while making a difference at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora. They arrived on a snowy December morning along with a crew of parent volunteers and were greeted with an orientation video showcasing the children from around who benefit from the meals from FMSC. Then, it was off to the production room! Students were given instructions detailing the different parts of the assembly line and then were told to choose a station. Each station was named after a country such as Haiti and Ghana. Students made up a cheer for their station, which they got to yell as soon as they filled a box completely. Holiday music blasted through the speakers which got the students dancing and singing along. After 90 minutes of packing and clean up, the students went back to the orientation room to learn about the effect of their packing. In all, the group packed 102 boxes, which translates to 22,032 meals. This means 61 children will eat for an entire year because of the work of the El Sierra fifth graders. The students felt so proud of their accomplishment, and some wiped away tears as they saw the final video of people from around the world thanking them for their help.
Lester collecting warm clothing, toys, food items for those in need
The Lester School student council has been collecting new hats, scarves, mittens and gloves. Items have been decorating the tree by the office during the week of December 9, and will be donated to the People's Resource Center. On December 13, the school will host its Winter Wiggle, during which the student council will collect new, unwrapped toys to be donated to the Caring Connection of Downers Grove and cans/boxes of food to be donated to the People's Resource Center.
Thanks to families' generosity, the Belle Aire student council collected a total of $461.81 during their Penny Harvest at the end of November. $100 will go to a local family in need, and $361.81 will go to a Downers Grove branch of PADS to feed and care for the homeless this winter.
Belle Aire Penny Harvest raises nearly $500
Herrick, Whittier students play 'Santa' for Toys for Tots
Students from Herrick Middle School, along with several members of Whittier School's second-grade Brownie troop, played Secret Santa for a DuPage County Toys for Tots event November 22 at Toys R Us on Butterfield Road.
Kids know what kids like, and the students made the gift-buying decisions for Toys for Tots. After Toys for Tots made the purchases, the students helped load the toys onto a trailer and bring them to the Toys for Tots warehouse in Lombard. Once they were unloaded, they were sorted and ready to be distributed to the neediest children in DuPage County. In 2012, DuPage County's Toys for Tots distributed 51,434 toys to the neediest children in DuPage and Kane County, and the goal this year is to exceed those numbers.
"On November 22, District 58 students helped add a few extra smiles. It just proves you are never too young to make a difference in someone's life!" wrote Matt and Sharon Passero, the parents of two of the participants.
O'Neill Silver Cluster meets 179 percent of food drive goal
Throughout the month of November, the seventh grade Silver Cluster students at O'Neill Middle School participated in a food drive to benefit families in District 58. Using the school report card, students calculated the exact number of cans they needed to collect so that every low-income household in the district would be the recipient of a food item. Once the math calculations were done, students set out to reach a goal of donating 465 cans of food. At first the task seemed a bit daunting, but not surprisingly, Silver Cluster students met the challenge put before them. They worked hard to advertise and collect items for the Downers Grove FISH food pantry. The day before Thanksgiving break, the students worked together to count the total number of items they collected. The final count was 833 donated food items. Using the figure for total number of items collected, the students calculated that they met 179 percent of their food drive goal. As a celebration for achieving their goal and for reflecting on all that they were thankful for, the students and Silver Cluster staff participated in a Thanksgiving Hobble Gobble. There was much enthusiasm and spirit as students and staff walked, jogged, and ran around the neighborhood surrounding O'Neill. The Hobble Gobble Tuesday was a perfect start to the holiday break!
Lester student council raising funds for typhoon victims
The Lester School student council is sponsoring a fundraiser to assist with life-saving efforts in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Haiyan. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, Lester School will sponsor a Hat Day. Students are encouraged to wear a hat of their choice. In exchange for this privilege, students will be asked to donate $1 to the recovery efforts. During the week of Nov. 18-22, teachers can buy the privilege of wearing jeans for $1 per day. 100% of donations will be donated to support UNICEF's emergency response in the Philippines.
Kingsley raises funds for Heavenly Hats
The Kingsley School student council recently raised $825 for Heavenly Hats, which donates new hats to cancer patients! Students donated a dollar a day to wear a hat, and Friday's theme was Crazy Hat Day. The winner in each class got their picture taken with Principal Mark Stange, as well as a small prize. The student council officers also led an all-school "hat parade"! Heavenly Hats was started 13 years ago by a 12-year-old in Wisconsin. To date the organization has donated nearly two million hats, with all of the packaging and shipping done completely by volunteers.
Belle Aire student council sponsoring Hats for the Philippines, Penny Harvest
On Friday, November 15, the Belle Aire School student council will be sponsoring a "hat day," in which students can donate $1 to wear a favorite hat in school for the day. All proceeds will be sent to the American Red Cross to benefit victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines.
The Belle Aire student council also will be hosting a penny harvest again this year to benefit needy families in the area. The week of November 18, student council members will bring the "harvest wagon" to Belle Aire classrooms each day so students can put in their spare change.
Henry Puffer students working together to 'stick' teacher to wall
Students at Henry Puffer School are working together to stick kindergarten teacher Carolyn Murphy to the wall! During lunch from November 4 to November 7, they will have the opportunity to buy pieces of duct tape, and on November 8, the students will be given their tape to place on Mrs. Murphy so that she sticks to the wall! The cost is $1 for one piece of tape or $5 for six pieces, and all proceeds will go toward buying gift cards to accompany Thanksgiving baskets for local families.
Fairmount student council holds pumpkin weight estimation contest to raise funds
The Fairmount School student council hosted a pumpkin weight estimation contest October 29. Each guess was 25 cents, or five guesses for $1, with the money raised going to help children.
Puffer fourth grader named Kohl's Kids Who Care winner in recognition of donation projects
Henry Puffer fourth grader Gabriella Frank was named the Kohl's Kids Who Care store winner for
the Downers Grove location for 2013. Gabriella collected and donated over 120 books, 120 pencils, and 100 boxes of crayons to a low-income early childhood school in Jamaica. She is collecting more books for a future trip to the school, and is accepting donations of gently used softcover books at her school.
In recognition of her 10th year, Gabriella also is working on a project where she has been donating 100 items each month to various charities. The charities have included the Jamaica school, Sharing Connections, West Suburban Humane Society, and other local programs.
Pierce Downer students collecting toys and books for Noah's Hope
Second-grade students at Pierce Downer are collecting gently used toys and books to raise money for Noah's Hope, founded by the family of two Downers Grove children who are battling LINCL-Batten disease. The Second Chance Toy Sale will take place at 4745 Seeley Ave. on Saturday, October 19, from 9 a.m. until noon. All money raised will go directly to the Batten Child Population Collection, a new initiative to collect data from all children and families affected by Batten Disease. For more information about Noah's Hope, visit www.noahshope.com. If you are interested in donating toys or books, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Herrick orchestra concert raises funds for Oklahoma tornado victims
Twenty members of the orchestra from Herrick Middle School played outside of the Jewel in Downers Grove the afternoon of June 1, raising $637.85 to donate to the American Red Cross to benefit victims of the Oklahoma tornado! It was a blustery day, so the students improvised and used clothespins to keep their music from blowing into the street. They played their final piece, "Skyfall," just as it began to rain.
O'Neill car wash raises funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The O'Neill Middle School student council hosted a car wash May 18 at District 58's Administrative Service Center, which raised $459 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society of Illinois!
Kingsley all-school walk benefits JDRF
Kingsley School recently hosted an all-school walk to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Each class walked a certain number of laps around the building based on their grade level, with sixth graders completing six full laps -- a total of 2.2 miles. The event ended up raising approximately $1,900!
Belle Aire sixth-grader chosen for Avon Walk Youth Crew
Belle Aire sixth grade student Madalyn Quitter got the experience of a lifetime June 1-2, when she was one of just 16 children to serve on the Youth Crew for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Madalyn was inspired to participate by a close friend of the family, whom they call Auntie Donna. She was diagnosed with breast cancer that has since metastasized to her brain.
Madalyn was chosen for the Youth Crew based on an essay she submitted about how breast cancer has impacted her life, how much she loves encouraging and uplifting others, and what she hoped to gain from participating.
“Seeing my aunt fight breast cancer has made this disease more real for me now, and I want to help find a cure for it by supporting the people who walk,” Madalyn wrote. “I love to help and cheer people on. I always tell my friends at school to never give up, along with my friends at figure skating, and now I want to cheer on more people. ... No matter when, where and what is going on, you will always see me smiling. Enthusiasm is my middle name!”
Madalyn’s duties included arriving a day prior to the walk to help set up the Wellness Village; serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and water to the walkers; and motivating them as they completed their journey. Other members of the family are supporting Auntie Donna, as well. Madalyn’s brother Lucas Beechler, a first grade student at Belle Aire, raised nearly $400 and subsequently shaved his head in March for breast cancer awareness, and Auntie Donna made the first swipe. Kim Quitter also participated in the Avon Walk in support of their friend.
O’Neill raises funds for genocide awareness
O'Neill eighth graders recently did their part to raise awareness of past and present genocides during their annual fundraising campaign, “Got Awareness.”Over the past four years, O’Neill students have raised more than $13,500.
bd’s Mongolian Grill at the Bolingbrook Promenade donated $3 for every person who came in May 9, and said they were there for the guest grillers--O’Neill staff. On May 16, Home Run Inn Pizza at 75th Street and Lemont Road donated 20 percent of the bill for every dine-in or carryout customer who turned in the event flyer.
The students also sold wristbands and gift basket raffle tickets during all lunch periods the week of May 6 to raise awareness about genocides throughout the world and raise funds for the various charities. This year’s fundraisers will benefit the Solar Cooker Project, which provides solar cookers to women in refugee camps; and the Sudanese Community Center, which assists Sudanese living in the Chicago area area to acclimate to America by helping them find day care, adult education, job training, transportation, and English as a Second Language courses.
Fairmount all-school packing event at Feed My Starving Children a huge success
"These funds, along with the outstanding participation of Fairmount families and staff at the food packing event, enabled us to provide one year's worth of meals for 63 children in dire need," said Fairmount Principal Tony Coglianese. "This project gave us an opportunity to learn more about the world and that there are people in need of assistance in meeting their daily basic needs of food clothing and shelter. The students and adults that were able to work at the packing event realized the 'good feeling' of doing work that benefits others much less fortunate than themselves."
Visit our Presentations and Videos page to view a video preview of the event, created by the student council!
Henry Puffer student council hosts walk/run for Gigi's Playhouse
“This event was held to show support for students and families within the Puffer community, and all District 58 students, parents and community members were invited to participate in this event,” said student council co-sponsor Katie Hurckes.
Preschool through second grade students made one lap around the school property (a little less than one mile), third through sixth grade students made two laps, and those older than sixth grade made three laps.
To submit an item for the Service Spotlight, please e-mail details to email@example.com!