As part of their International Baccalaureate Exhibition Program, fifth grade students at Cache La Poudre Elementary School put on the school’s first Philanthropy Fair.
Teacher Mike Mosley said the students began by researching local non-profits, writing e-mails, making phone calls and writing proposals. Each choose a cause they were passionate about and then took action. When Mosley learned that there were insurance issues involved with students soliciting and collecting donations out in the community, he suggested inviting the community to the school. Thus, the first student-led Philanthropy Fair was born.
By 9:30 a.m. on a rainy Saturday in May, the CLP gym was abuzz with energy. Booths had been set up and visitors circled the room learning about what it is these students care about most.
There were opportunities to learn about and/or donate to the Virginia Dale Community Club, Fort Collins Cat Rescue, Foothills Gateway, Crossroads Safehouse, Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity, Larimer Humane Society, Animal House, Fort Collins Rescue Mission, Rocky Mountain Raptor Program and the clothing needs of CLP students.
“In two weeks, the students will be making illustrated presentations about their chosen charities,” Mosley said. “We started off small, but next year we plan to expand the fair.”
Tyler Uthmann chose the Virginia Dale Community Club because he has family members who are involved, and he’s interested in the club’s work to restore the old stage station. Dalton Foster was eager to join his friend in selling raffle tickets for a quilt and supporting the club.
Jackie Galvan spoke for a trio, including Marissa Paez and Sydney Shideler, as she explained the work of Foothills Gateway, a sheltered workshop that provides jobs for people with disabilities. “I want to see that people have work and are happy,” she said.
Madeleine Glasgow was so affected when she learned the plight of monarch butterflies that she decided to get involved. Charming in her butterfly shirt, she explained in detail why the butterflies are at risk and gave away little packages of wildflower seeds that attract butterflies, and milkweed plants that are essential to the existence of the butterflies. Photos, charts and even a tree graphically demonstrating the diminishing numbers of monarchs were part of her impressive display. During the morning, she gave away 22 milkweed plants and 72 packages of seeds.
“Philanthropy is not just about giving money and supplies. It’s about giving one’s time or talent to help someone else,” Mosley said. Many of the students’ activities were about sharing their time and talents.
Their efforts resulted in e-mails to regional seafood restaurants reminding them not to buy endangered fish, a three-day soccer camp for CLP kindergarteners, an hour spent cleaning up the Poudre River, two hours a week volunteering at Spring Creek Gardens, and a mix-it-up lunch to help children make new friends at CLP. A four-day football, fitness and healthy food camp was planned and a conservation calendar was promoted at CLP.
During the fair, money was collected for Stand Up to Cancer, Fort Collins Rescue Mission, Virginia Dale Community Club, Larimer Humane Society, Animal House, Charis Youth Ranch, Peanuts Place Bully Rescue, Good Samaritan Society, Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity and Crossroads Safehouse. A huge variety of goods were donated to many of these organizations, including boxes of children’s books, games, cat food and beds, groceries, sports equipment, gently used clothing, dog treats and miscellaneous household items.
Concern for others is alive and well at CLP.