ROSTHERN, Sask.—People visiting the Rosthern Junior College (RJC) in January would have been surprised to see the school’s biology teacher Karalee Kuny hanging on the wall in a cocoon of duct tape.
This fundraising effort, organized by Grade 12 student Katie Baschak, contributed over $200 to the school’s annual Pennies for Poverty campaign.
It was one of many innovative and creative fundraising efforts that made it possible for the Grade 10 –12 student body of 100 and staff to raise more than $10,000 in its annual Pennies for Poverty campaign, a two-month campaign that ended January 25, 2010
"It's encouraging to see the response of students because it is easy to have the negative attitude—my little bit won’t matter,” said teacher Ryan Wood, the school’s spiritual life coordinator.
Fundraising efforts were well underway to raise funds for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) projects in Guatemala and for the Rosthern Ministerial Food Pantry when the January 12th earthquake struck Haiti.
Students and staff ramped up fundraising efforts and raised an additional $3,000 for MCC’s response in Haiti.
“They were responding to the needs that they saw in Haiti,” said Wood, adding it is rewarding for staff to see students rise to the challenge of applying the knowledge and values taught in the classroom, to the real world.
Laura Civica, Grade 12, and Hannah Jones, Grade 11, raised over $2,500 by designing 40 stylish ‘Pennies for Poverty’ tie-dye t-shirts. The t-shirts were sold at auction sales in chapel and by silent auction throughout the last week of the campaign.
Brett Hauser, Grade 10, is known for his signature bushy red beard. “One day, he announced in chapel that if he could raise over $100 in pledges, he would shave his beard and whoever pledged the most money could shave it,” said Wood. “The staff was so impressed that we told the students we would match whatever money Brett could raise if his friend Matthew Hildebrandt would wear the prickly trimmings for a day.”
Drama teacher Bev Epp designed the newly shaved facial hair into a moustache and goatee which Hildebrandt wore for a day. This combined effort raised $700 for the Pennies for Poverty campaign.
In the spirit of the Pennies for Poverty campaign—a campaign of small acts that make a big difference in the world—students and staff raised funds in a variety of ways. They donated personal items and services to auction sales and organized bake sales, bottle drives and sports tournaments.
“We give youth the excuse that they don’t have money but they have other things to contribute,” said Wood. “We don’t have enough faith in their creativity and their willingness to do good things. When we give young people the opportunity to put their faith into action, amazing things can happen.”
The school held its first Pennies for Poverty campaign four years ago and over the years has raised more than $20,000 for charitable projects.
Gladys Terichow is a writer for MCC Canada.