School kids raise dimes, awareness

Tammy Holland
Tammy Holland

Todd Cohen

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Every weekday morning from Nov. 3 through 13, during the daily-announcements video broadcast, Principal Tammy Holland talked about giving to the staff and 430 students at Lucile Souders Elementary School of Math and Science.

Following her talk, fourth and fifth graders on the broadcast quizzed one another about the meaning of philanthropy.

The focus on giving was part of a Dime Time Coin Drive, a fundraising event that was held in all schools in the attendance area of E.E. Smith High School and spearheaded by the E.E. Smith Academic Excellence Giving Circle at the Cumberland Community Foundation.

As a way to grow giving among youth, a goal of the Community Foundation and NCGives, and as a way to make a difference in the schools, the giving circle challenged the schools, offering to match each dime donated with a dollar, up to $2,000.

NCGives, which promotes giving among communities of color, women and young people, provided seed funding to create the giving circle at the community foundation.

At Lucile Souders, an elementary school where 89 percent of the students are African American and 77 percent receive free or reduced lunch, Holland kicked off Dime Time with a letter to parents.

In the letter, she said the fund drive was designed to raise funds to support school improvements and help kids learn about giving.

And at a kickoff in the school cafeteria, with the entire school in attendance, she talked about plans for raising the money.

“We were not going to sell anything or ask them to sell anything,” Holland says. “The money would be to help within our walls,” she says. “And it would show everyone that if we needed to raise money for ourselves, we had it within our means.”
The money also would be used to address community needs.

“We’re always talking about what can we do to help people less fortunate,” Holland says.

Kids were encouraged to ask their parents for dimes and to ask their parents to ask other family members and people at church and at work.

It was all about “expanding the circle,” Holland says.

Each classroom was given an initial goal of collecting 100 dimes.

Classrooms that met their goal would be treated to a popsicle social, and grade levels that met their collective goals would be treated to a skating party at a local roller-skating rink.

All those goals were met in the first two days.

So the goal for the entire school was raised to 15,000 dimes from 10,000.

In addition to the daily broadcasts, a megaboard was placed in the cafeteria that included daily updates on the total raised by each class.

Teachers also were encouraged to give.

When the final count was in, the kids had collected 19,943 dimes, or $1,994.30, a total that was matched with $2,000 from the giving circle.

Students at the four schools that participated in the challenge, including Lucile Souders, collected 28,393 dimes, or $2,839.30 and the giving circle matched those with four grants totaling $7,022.

At Lucile Souders, the funds went into the principal’s discretionary fund for projects to improve math and science learning at the school.

Holland says the funds already have been used to buy calculators, books and school supplies, and will be used to buy lab supplies.

Some of the funds also have been used for the school’s community giving.

For the second straight year, the school has partnered with Whispering Pines, a nearby nursing facility.

Based on a need identified by officials at the facility, the school used some of the funds to buy roughly 20 dozen pairs of socks, which the children hand-delivered.

The school plans another fundraising effort this spring, Holland says.

Mary Holmes, executive director of the Cumberland Community Foundation, says Dime Time was an “effective way to engage youth in giving for their schools in a short, low-cost/high-impact program.

The idea, she says, was to “teach the kids how to give back and show them that collective giving can really make a difference.”

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