Column: Son Raises Funds for New Equipment at School
By Lisa Pett
Our family has always stressed the importance of belonging to a community. Belonging to a community means adding value to it. If you see a need, you should try to fill it. A picnic table is a perfect symbol for community. People gather around it, interact, and enjoy each other’s company.
When my 10 year old son decided the playground at his elementary school needed a picnic table he said, “there is no place to sit and draw or play games or just have conversations with my friends.”
It was not an unreasonable request and I told him he should talk to his principal about it. The principal thought it was a great idea, but he and I both knew it wasn’t something the school had budgeted for.
Owen approached Washington Elementary’s Parent-Teacher Organization and spoke at a meeting. As the PTO’s president, I had just finished going over our budget with the rest of the officers and knew we didn’t have the funds to cover that kind of purchase, either. Fundraising is down across the board for a lot of school PTOs, according to our fundraising company rep.
The PTO could not help with funds, but offered to do the banking and purchasing, if the funds could be raised elsewhere. Undaunted, Owen discussed the idea with some of his classmates and pondered fundraising options.
Everyone seemed to support the project. But it takes at least one person to follow through and to put in the effort.
A child of the internet age, Owen knew that getting something online and spreading it virally could work so he asked me to set up a fundraiser on gofundme.com. I asked him if we should put jars in all the classrooms so the students could donate their spare change. So our family spent an taping colorful labels on quart mason jars.
In less than a month, Owen helped raised over $600. Enough to purchase an industrial quality, coated metal picnic table for Washington Elementary.
This project has taught my son that you don’t wait for someone else to do something. If you have the idea, you run with it, do the work, and the end results are something you can take pride in. I can’t think of a better lesson for any kid to learn.
Watching that lesson take root and bloom in the efforts of my son makes me proud to be a member of the Washington Elementary Community and of the Stevens Point Community. I hope it’s a good example for every school in the district. If a student has an idea, they should be encouraged make it happen. It can make their school and surrounding community a better place.