Alcott Elementary School students in seven grade levels spent weeks saving their pennies and allowances for a special school fundraiser known as “Penny Wars.” The activity culminated with a presentation of the donations to the charity that was chosen by the students: Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
“The students raised $1,340 across seven grades,” said Alcott school principal Shawn Simpson. “In addition to what these children learn through their studies, it’s equally important that they learn how to support their communities and engage with others. I want everyone to leave the school with the skills to be able to give back to their communities. I want our kids to realize that they’re part of something bigger than just this school, and how they can make a difference in other people’s lives. Little feats can amount to huge things.”
The grade that raised the most for WWP won a very special prize: 30 minutes of extra recess time on the playground. Drew Caouette, a 4th-grade student at Alcott who helped organize the fundraiser, was part of the grade that won the prize. He also introduced the special guest speaker from WWP, Cindy Parsons. During the school-wide assembly, Cindy told students about her son Shane, who was seriously wounded in Iraq when a bomb detonated under his Humvee.
“It was very emotional,” Drew said. “She talked to us about her son’s time in the Army, and it was awesome to hear about how much Shane has done for our country. The other kids were talking about her story for days after the event. We gave her a Wolcott T-shirt and a few other small items for her to remember her time at our school. When she was done speaking, Cindy gave me a challenge coin, which was really cool.”
A challenge coin is a small medallion with an organization's logo that is given out as a symbol of recognition of merit or service. They are popular among military service members. Drew and his mom, Stacey Caouette, who’s a teacher at Alcott Elementary School, also gave out WWP pins, bracelets, and stickers during the assembly.
“The kids loved getting that stuff, and they’re still wearing them around,” Stacey said. “A girl in Drew’s class has worn that Wounded Warrior Project bracelet every day since the assembly. Cindy was very good about speaking to the kids. She made her story come alive and really spoke to their level. The wounds of war are a heavy topic, but she got the importance of what she was saying through to the kids in a way that didn’t scare them but actually inspired them.”
That sense of inspiration continued when Stacey took Drew to the bank to count the money raised by the students at his school.
“While we were loading the change into the counting machine, there was a man watching us in the bank line,” Stacey explained. “The man asked what the money was for, and Drew told him it was for Wounded Warrior Project. It turned out he was a wounded warrior and said he was so thankful. He shook Drew’s hand and told us we were doing a great thing. This whole experience has been so good for Drew and the other children to learn about caring for others and for recognizing the incredible sacrifices that our military service members make.”
Individual students, classes, clubs, or athletic teams can get involved and support WWP through the Student Ambassadors program. To learn more, visit https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/give-back/students. And to see more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/, and click on multimedia.
Contact: Mattison Brooks – Public Relations
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.