Belle Aire raises $225.66 to support Nepal relief
Published: May 19, 2015
Belle Aire students and staff raised $225.66 for the nonprofit Watts of Love. Student Council sponsored a Hat Day on May 8. Students wore their favorite hat and donated $1. Teachers contributed $5 to wear jeans for the week.
Mr. Kuster, from Watts of Love, will travel to devastated Nepal this month to distribute life-changing solar lanterns and headlamps. The people of Nepal do not have electricity in their huts. The solar lanterns and headlamps will improve their quality of life by extending their day for work and education.
Pictured in the photo to the right: Belle Aire Student Council Executive Board: Adam, Arden, Ella and Emily, pictured with Kevin Kuster from Watts of Love.
- Contributed by Joan Mommsen, Belle Aire LRC Director and Student Council moderator
Eight schools collaborate to support Cupcake Classic 5K
Published in May 7, 2015 issue of Communicate 58
Participating schools include the Whittier and Kingsley student councils, as well as the Belle Aire, El Sierra, Henry Puffer, Pierce Downer, Herrick and O'Neill PTAs. Even if you do not attend these schools, you may still support this cause!
The race celebrates the birthdays of Noah and Laine, two Downers Grove children with Batten Disease. Every participant will receive a delicious birthday cupcake at the race's conclusion. The event includes a 5K race and a Kids 1-Mile Run.
Noah's Hope was developed by Noah and Laine's family to raise money to find treatments and a cure for Batten Disease, a terminal disease in which there currently is not a cure. Learn more about Batten Disease at http://bdsra.org/.
Learn more about the Cupcake Classic at http://www.noahshope.com/cupcake/index.htm.
Support the Puffer Community Art Fair
Buy a handmade key chain, bid on a mural May 7
Published: May 5, 2015
Fairmount raises more than $5,400 for Charlie's Gift autism center
Published: April 29, 2015
Fairmount School participated in the Walk the Walk for Autism in Hinsdale on Sunday, April 26. The Fairmount Student Council supported and organized the school's participation in the event. Fairmount students, families and staff members walked together as a team to raise funds and awareness for those in local communities dealing with autism. As a school, Fairmount raised more than $5,400 and had over 100 participants who "walked the walk" to show their support for the "Charlie's Gift" Center for Autism and Related Disorders, which is located in Downers Grove. April is Autism Awareness Month.
Belle Aire donation will provide 83 people with clean water for life!
Published: April 29, 2015
Belle Aire sixth graders recently hosted a Water Challenge to raise money to help bring more clean drinking water to South Sudan. The sixth graders challenged the District 58 community to drink nothing but water from April 13-24 and donate any money saved to the non-profit, Water for South Sudan.
Belle Aire is proud to announce that they raised $1,913 during their Water Challenge fundraiser! According to “Water for South Sudan,” this money will provide clean and safe drinking water for about 83 people for life!
“The kids are absolutely thrilled with their efforts,” said Tricia Miller, Belle Aire sixth grade teacher and fundraiser coordinator. “We continually talk about a small group of students being able to make a difference, and they finally see that this is possible!”
Miller added that her students are incredibly grateful for the support of the Belle Aire and District 58 communities during this endeavor.
Hearts abound at Whittier
Published: April 2015
Last week, Whittier students and staff joined together in a Whittier Student Council led effort, Whittier Cares-Hearts for Tornado Relief, to collect money for the victims of the April 9 tornadoes in Illinois.
Students and staff decorated paper hearts and then returned them to the Whittier Student Council along with donations for the tornado relief effort. In just two days, over $330 was collected and donated to the McCormick Foundation 2015 Illinois Tornado Relief Effort Campaign! With their matching funds, Whittier’s donation resulted in a $495 gift for those in need! As an added bonus, the entryway to Whittier School is now decorated in a sea of colorful hearts, demonstrating the caring spirit of our Whittier community!
Contributed by: Student Council Moderator/Sixth Grade Teacher Deb Krygeris
Book inspires Hillcrest to help bring fresh water to South Sudan
You can donate to the Hillcrest Well Fund, too!
Published March 2015
What are you doing Thursday, April 9? Please consider visiting Hillcrest School at 7 p.m. for a very special assembly. Fifth graders will lead a presentation on South Sudan's urgent need for fresh water and their goal to build a well to provide clean water to Sudanese citizens.
Last fall, Hillcrest fifth grade teacher John Smoke read "A Long Walk To Water" with his students. It's a true story about a Sudanese Lost Boy who survived in a refugee camp without fresh water for 10 years. After he moved to America, he started a non-profit called "Water for South Sudan."
"It really hit a nerve with my students," Smoke says. "They wanted to help."
After brainstorming ideas, Smoke's class launched the Hillcrest Well Fund. They're aiming to raise $15,000 to build a well in South Sudan.
Right away, Smoke's students displayed a giving spirit. One student donated the $10 she earned shoveling driveways; another student fundraised for the Well Fund while caroling. Another student convinced his extended family to donate to the well fund in lieu of Christmas presents this past year.
"This project is giving the students an intrinsic feeling of giving," Smoke says. "They are freely giving without any expectation in return. It's a good skill to learn at this age."
Read more about Hillcrest's efforts to build a well in South Sudan and learn how you can get involved!
District 58 students raise money, shave heads for cancer research
Published: March 2015
Several District 58 students and staff from Herrick, Whittier, O'Neill and Henry Puffer schools generously
Herrick students Donald Peters and Emma Nykiel and Whittier student Ethan Peters raised more than $6,000 and shaved their heads on March 6 at a St. Baldrick's event in River Grove. This is the third year Emma has participated, and the sixth year for brothers Donald and Ethan.
Meanwhile, Robert Huth, a 9-year-old Henry Puffer student, shaved his head March 10 for children's cancer research. He also donated 18 months of hair growth to an organization that specializes in wigs for cancer patients.
"Robert is a very thoughtful boy who wants to be a scientist," says his mom, Nancy Huth. "Several years ago he told his pediatrician that he wanted to help cure cancer someday. Knowing that everyone wants cancer cured as soon as possible, Rob's decided to help the only way he could for a nine year old -St Baldricks and donating his hair."
O'Neill alumna Sarah Ansah, class of '14, shaved her head to support St. Baldrick's and childhood cancer cure research. To help Sarah's mission, O'Neill students and staff raised $2,000 for St. Baldricks! Thank you all for your generosity.
Thank you, District 58 students, for your incredible generosity!
Kingsley and Lester each raise $700 for Global Genes Project;
Pierce Downer staff raise $195 for National Organization for Rare Disorders
Published: March 2015
Kingsley, Lester and Pierce Downer schools recently held fundraisers to raise awareness and money for rare disease research.
The Kingsley Student Council hosted a "Dance Off Disease Day."
During the week of Feb. 23-26, Lester School Student Council sponsored a Penny Harvest to raise money for the Global Genes Project, one of the leading rare and genetic disease patient advocacy organizations in the world. Lester's goal was to raise awareness and money for those living with rare diseases, including three students in District 58. On Feb. 26, all students and staff were given denim ribbons to wear and encouraged to wear their favorite pair of jeans to school to show support for World Rare Disease Day. In addition, teachers could pay a dollar per day to wear jeans. Our school raised nearly $700 for this great cause!
In addition, Pierce Downer staff recognized Rare Disease Day by donating $10 to wear jeans to school. Pierce Downer staff raised $195 to donate to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
Lester, El Sierra and Belle Aire collect non-perishable food during "Souper Bowl"
Feb. 2, 2015
Last week, the Lester, El Sierra and Belle Aire student councils sponsored "Souper Bowl" activities, during which students and staff collected cans and boxes of food. Students "voted" for which team they thought would win the Super Bowl by putting their food in boxes labeled Seahawks or Patriots.
“Lester collected over 400 food items that we donated to the People's Resource Center of DuPage. The Seahawks were voted for by a 3 to 1 margin!” said Marina Kasicki, Lester teacher and student council sponsor.
"We want to thank everyone who donated soup cans for our Student Council Souper Bowl this week," added El Sierra Principal Jason Lynde. "The final results are in... Seahawks 170 and the Patriots 60. In all we are able to donate 130 cans of soup to a local food pantry."
"Belle Aire got into the spirit of the Super Bowl last week," said Joan Mommsen, Belle Aire teacher and Student Council sponsor. "Students were asked to bring in non-perishable items for the FISH food pantry in Downers Grove and place them in a Patriots or a Sea Hawks themed box to show which team they were supporting. The Patriots might be the victors in the world of football, but the Sea Hawks won 147 food items to the Patriot's 40 items at Belle Aire."
Fairmount girl scouts hold bake sale for charity
Fairmount's girl scouts sold holiday baked treats at the school's Santa's Secret Shop in December, and donated all money raised to charity. Nice job, girls!
El Sierra gets in the spirit of giving!
El Sierra hosted many charitable activities this holiday season! Their philanthropies were hosted by staff, parents, students and administrators - nearly everyone got involved!
For example, both El Sierra staff and families started an Adopt-a-Family program, in which they purchased gifts for anonymous El Sierra families in need. Staff took it one step farther and started an employee Giving Tree. El Sierra teachers and staff volunteered to donate individual items, such as clothing or gift cards, for anonymous families in need.
El Sierra staff put up a mitten tree and invited anyone to place winterwear - mittens, hats, scarves, etc - on the tree limbs. All items were donated to area families in need of warm clothing. To complement the mitten tree, El Sierra staff hosted a coat drive. They received many coats from a generous Hillcrest parent!
El Sierra Student Council members hand cut and knotted blankets for the homeless. Students and staff also hosted a food drive for the local pantry.
For fun and fun-draising, El Sierra staff hosted a Jingle Jeans activity. If they donated money, staff could wear jeans to school during the month of December. They raised $356 through this endeavor, which El Sierra will use to purchase healthy fruit snacks for students.
Thank you for your incredible generosity, El Sierra community!
Henry Puffer students give to their classroom mitten trees
Deck the halls with boughs of holly! Literally, at Henry Puffer School. Several teachers built Christmas trees outside their classrooms, and invited students and families to donate winter accessories on the tree! Here, some of Mrs. Hurckes' second graders pose beside the tree.
All mittens and winter clothing were donated to area families in need.
Pierce Downer donates 3,022 books, hosts holiday auction
Pierce Downer held a competition to see which class could donate the most books to the Bernie Book Bank. Together, they donated 3,022 books, beating their goal of 2,000 books!! Mrs. Breault's third grade class won the competition, donating 633 books. Nice work, Pierce Downer!
Isn't it great when you have a WIN-WIN-WIN situation? That's exactly what happened at Pierce Downer's fifth grade charity auction Friday, Dec. 19!
Students brought in gently used items they no longer use (it's a great way to declutter!). During the auction, they bid on items brought in by other students. These items make great inexpensive gifts for family and friends! All the money raised was donated to a charity chosen by each fifth grade class.
"It has been a fantastic, fun-filled activity that we have held for over 10 years," said fifth grade teacher Sue Murphy. "The kids love it and everyone leaves with arms full of items and smiles on their faces."
Highland Student Council organizes biggest Giving Tree ever
Dec. 19, 2014
According to Highland Principal Dr. Judy Kmak, this year's Giving Tree was the fullest one ever, with piles and piles of gifts surrounding it, and layers of winter weather accessories decorating it. Highland's Student Council, led by teachers Cheryl Varys and Jen Dunlap, coordinated the Giving Tree.
"The Giving Tree at Highland has been a tradition for the last 25 years that I have been here maybe even longer," Varys said. "Students remember it from year to year. Many staff members ask students to donate to the giving tree instead of giving gifts to them at Christmas."
This year, Dr. Kmak kept some donations to help Highland families in need; the rest of the donations were packed and sent to FISH and the Humanitarian Service Project.
Thanks for your generosity, Highland!
After studying world hunger, Belle Aire students start food drive
Dec. 18, 2014
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
This powerful quote has rung especially true for Belle Aire third grade teacher Tara Fulton this holiday season. After teaching her students about world hunger, third and fourth graders decided they wanted to help fight hunger on a local level. With the help of Mrs. Fulton and other teachers, they organized a food drive. Thanks to their efforts, they donated 1,118 food items, weighing more than 1,000 pounds!
“Our students were inspired by Robby Novak, aka ‘Kid President,’ to do something ‘to make the world awesome.’ We brainstormed ideas on how we can give back to others and found that we would like to help feed the hungry,” Fulton said.
Large vans from three local organizations – FISH Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes and West Suburban Community Pantry – arrived at Belle Aire on Thursday, Dec. 18, and students and teachers made several trips to fill the vans up.
The food drive received generous support from Caputo's, Trader
Joe's, Shop & Save, Ultra, Target, Kramer's, Whole Foods, and
the Lemon Tree.
Giving back: Students buy books for Herrick's classroom libraries
Dec. 17, 2014
This year's Herrick Holiday Book Fair featured a festive Teacher Wish List display board. Teachers wrote which books they desired for their classroom libraries on slips of paper. Visitors - mostly parents or grandparents visiting for VIP Day - could take a slip of paper and purchase the book right there at the fair.
Denise Rytych, Herrick library resource center, quickly noticed an unexpected trend. In addition to the grown ups, some students were purchasing books as well.
"I was delighted to see students choosing to spend their own money on books that will benefit their entire classroom!" Rytych said.
For example, eighth grader Ben Kulat used money he saved up to purchase books for his teachers - at least seven of them! - plus the library resource center. He decided to buy the books to show his appreciation for his fantastic teachers and in hopes it might inspire more students to read.
"I felt like I needed to give back to my teachers," Ben said. "I think having more books in the classroom is valuable. Some kids love to read, but others need to have more reasons to read. I tried to pick books that I think might attract the attention of a lot of kids, including those who might not read a lot."
The teachers who received books from Ben and other students were very thankful for the kind gesture.
"I appreciated it so much," said Nicole Trezzo, Herrick science teacher. "Anytime students give me something, whether it's a book, cookies or a card, it means a lot. It meant even more knowing that these students used their own money to buy the books for me. Rather than buying something for themselves, they chose to spend it on others."
Puffer's Smooch the Pooch raises $475
Dec. 15, 2014
Late last month, Henry Puffer’s Student Council hosted a unique fundraiser that garnered a lot of giggles – and donations! Their Smooch the Pooch fundraiser gave students and teachers the opportunity to kiss a cute little dog, in exchange for a donation.
The fundraiser netted $475, which Henry Puffer used to purchase turkey gift cards for their Thanksgiving baskets. The baskets were given to families in need.
Hillcrest parent donates 80 coats to students in need,
Green Team collects 10 bags of coats and boots
Dec. 4, 2014
A Hillcrest parent, through his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, recently donated 80 NEW winter coats to District 58. Thanks to his generosity, all of those coats have been placed with students in need in five of our elementary schools.
In addition, Hillcrest's Green Team hosted a coat and boot drive last week. They successfully filled 10 LARGE bags to help families. Nice job, Hillcrest!
Belle Aire fundraiser harvests $440 in change
Dec. 2, 2014
Belle Aire students learned how little things can add up during their annual Penny Harvest, Nov. 17-21. Each day, student council members wheeled the harvest wagon to each classroom and collected students’ spare change. By the end of the week, they tallied $439.10 in change!
The money raised will be donated to local families in need and charitable organizations. The Penny Harvest is coordinated by the student council and its teacher co-chairs, Betsy Matson and Joan Mommsen.
“It has become an annual tradition,” Mommsen said. “The kids
really enjoy it and help the needy in the process of having fun.”
Stuck on giving: Lester raises $1,023 to help families this Thanksgiving
Nov. 25, 2014
Lester raised $1,023 to help local families in need have a truly Happy Thanksgiving, via their "Stuck on Giving" fundraiser. Last week during lunch, students could "buy" pieces of duct tape for $1 each. Then, they duct taped PE teacher Mr. Donnelly to the wall!!
"We're making Thanksgiving baskets for needy families. We bring in the canned items, and we'll use the fundraiser money for gift cards for turkeys," explained Clare Rhodes, Lester student and Student Council treasurer.
Lester teacher Marina Kasicki says that $1,023 was far more than they expected to raise.
"We have more than enough money to provide turkey gift cards to families, so we will use the leftover funding to help out at Christmas!"
These kids are really "stuck on giving!" Thanks for your generosity!
Bloom’s Angels family fundraiser a huge success
Nov. 25, 2014
Last Saturday night, families packed the Downers Grove North High School gym in support of Herrick’s Bloom’s Angels FUNdraiser. Herrick Middle School hosted a cross-town boys’ basketball game against Jefferson Junior High to raise money to help their students and families in need.
Bloom’s Angels successfully raised $8,500 from the 750 people who jammed the bleachers to enjoy two great basketball games! The crowd also enjoyed rockin’ performances by the Herrick Middle School and North High School jazz band. The Herrick choir did a beautiful job singing the National Anthem, and the cheerleaders did a great job performing at both half times.
“What an exciting night for our organization!” said Gail Pistello, co-founder of Bloom’s Angels. “It does my heart good to see so many students step up and participate in one way or another to make this night great!”
A special thank you goes out to all the parents, teachers, PTA members and students who supported this event.
Whittier gets crazy for a good cause!
Nov. 25, 2014
Whittier students got a little crazy earlier this month! The Student Council hosted a Hat and Crazy Hair Day on Nov. 14. Students paid $1 to join the fun. They raised $189.04 for the Heavenly Hats Foundation, a non-profit started by a Wisconsin boy to provide new hats to patients in hospitals and clinics who lose their hair due to chemotherapy or an illness. Nice job, Whittier!
Lester gives a 'hand' to our veterans
Nov. 17, 2014
The Lester student community gave a hand to our servicemen this Veterans Day – literally. Lester students wrote messages and drew pictures on red and white paper “hands.” The messages thanked our veterans, shared why they’re proud to be an American, and described what freedom meant to them.
"The school-wide activity was a great opportunity to have a discussion about the importance of Veterans Day and what veterans do and have done for us," said sixth grade teacher Marina Kasicki.
The activity also allowed teachers and students to discuss the specific
connection that the building has with Veterans Day. Lester School was erected
in 1955, in memory of all Downers Grove servicemen who gave their lives for
their country in World War II. It is named in recognition of Frederick F.
Lester, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Third year in a row! Puffer fifth-grader
Gabriella Frank recognized for charity
Nov. 3, 2014:
The Kohls’ Kids Who Care program selected Gabriella Frank, a fifth grade Puffer student, as the local winner of its Kids Who Care scholarship contest. This is the third consecutive year Gabriella received this honor.
Gabriella is known for her empathy and dedication to service. In first grade, she started a program that collects and donates books and school supplies to low-income schools in the Caribbean.
“This summer, she donated her 750th book to the Sandals Foundation for the local low-income early childhood schools,” said Heather Frank, Gabriella’s mother. “She has donated over 1,000 miscellaneous school supplies, consisting of pens, pencils, markers, crayons and folders.”
To show appreciation, Jamaica’s Minister of Education wrote a thank you letter to Gabriella, and the Jamaican Observer newspaper once featured Gabriella’s project on the front page.
Gabriella asks friends and family members to donate gently used paperback books. Her home has a holding area for books and supplies.
“I shop school supply sales in the summer with my mom,” Gabriella said. “I use my own money to buy supplies.”
A family vacation to Jamaica inspired Gabriella to start her charitable project.
“I first learned about the need for books and supplies in Jamaica when I visited a preschool during a family trip. The students had to share pencils, and the classrooms didn't have much,” she said.
Gabriella has since visited Jamaica three times and Turks & Caicos three times, each trip arriving in a vehicle packed with books and school supplies to donate.
“I am motivated to do charity projects because I like helping people,” Gabriella said. “I think they are important because people in need, need things to help survive and to learn skills.”
This past summer, Gabriella was also named a top 10 national finalist in the Auntie Anne's Mini Acts Mighty Impact contest.
In addition to the school supply and book program, Gabriella is active in several local charity projects. Each month, she tries to donate either 100 items or $100 worth of items to local organizations, including the West Suburban Humane Society, Sharing Connections and a local food pantry.
In her free time, Gabriella enjoys trampolining/tumbling, playing the violin and traveling with family.
Want to donate books or supplies to Gabriella’s charity project? Email Megan Hewitt, community relations coordinator, at email@example.com to get connected.
Service to Humane Society earns Indian Trail Girl Scouts top award
On May 28, Indian Trail Girl Scout Troop #51299 earned the Bronze Award, the highest award that a Girl Scout Junior can earn! The girls completed a number of volunteer activities to support the West Suburban Humane Society, including decorating adoption folders, making dog and cat toys, volunteering time and sponsoring a successful donation drive to collect items that the animals need. The members of this fifth grade troop have been very active in community service since kindergarten.
Puffer raises funds for American Heart Association in honor of retiring teacher
The Henry Puffer student council’s annual walk/run not only raised $1,365 for the American Heart Association, it also honored P.E. teacher Jeanne Smith, who is retiring in June after 27 years of service to Puffer.
During the walk/run, which took place after school May 23, Mary Lou Torrison from the American Heart Association presented Jeanne with a plaque for her years of dedication to raising money for the AHA at Puffer and at Whittier, where she also teaches P.E.
Two Puffer students -- first-grader Zander Yee and fifth-grader Stephen Majkrzak -- have both had heart surgery in the past, and they served as Heart Ambassadors for the event.
Lester collecting items for Guatemala
Two Lester students and their families will travel to Guatemala this July to work at Dorie’s Promise, a private orphanage in Guatemala City. They will also have the opportunity to take school supplies and food to people that live in a poor area of Guatemala City, as well as work in a state run orphanage for special needs children and teen girls. The week of May 19, Lester students and staff are donating school supplies, backpacks and hygiene products for the families to take to the Guatemalan children this summer.
Indian Trail’s RL4C making a difference for families
Rainbow Loom bracelets are making a difference at Indian Trail School. A group of nearly a dozen fifth-graders who call themselves Rainbow Loom for Charity, or RL4C, has been making and selling the bracelets to raise money for the Jackson Chance Foundation. So far RL4C has raised $160, which they will be sending to the Foundation shortly, and already has its next project in development!
The Jackson Chance Foundation was founded in memory of Jackson Chance, a little boy who was born premature and passed away at 10 months from Brochopulmonary dysplasia. The Foundation’s goal is to help families be with their critically ill babies while they are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). For information about the Jackson Chance Foundation, visit www.jacksonchance.org.
Hillcrest donates $7,500 to Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation
Hillcrest School students are helping to make a difference for children with Neuroblastoma. The school recently hosted a Coins 4 Kids fundraiser to collect change for the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, and during a special assembly April 28, Principal Paula Thomas announced the total they had raised: an amazing $7,524.13.
Classes received prizes for various levels of fundraising, including popsicles, a movie and popcorn for the class and a pizza party. The class that raised the most money won a surprise field trip with Principal Paula Thomas and Assistant Principal Brittany Cerny.
Nine-year-old Theo Yianas, a family friend of Hillcrest student Ben Tunney, shared his story about being diagnosed with neuroblastoma at the age of six and successfully fighting the disease. He endured chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, stem cell transplants, and immunotherapy, coming out the other side in remission and with 936 courage beads to mark the steps of his journey.
“Kids like you helped kids like me,” Theo told the students.
Patricia Tallungan, founder and president of the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, was on hand to accept the donation.
“I am in total shock--this is fantastic. I can’t even tell you how much good this is going to do for the children who are fighting neuroblastoma,” she said.
Puffer student council to host Community Art Fair
The Henry Puffer student council will host the school’s first-ever Community Art Fair from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, April 24. The Fair will benefit two charitable organizations, and everyone is invited to attend.
The entire school has been contributing milk jug lids for two large-scale murals since December, and the student council began assembling the murals earlier this month.
Art teacher Sarah David sketched the designs, and the students added the multi-colored lids with help from student council sponsor Katie Hurckes.
The murals will be auctioned off during the art fair. Additionally, each student created pendants that will be on sale at the Fair, along with pieces by the photography and cartooning clubs.
Anyone who is unable to attend but would like to submit a bid for the mural or purchase a pendant or piece of art can e-mail Hurckes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All funds raised at the Fair will be split between the West Suburban Humane Society and the World Wildlife Fund.
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 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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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