SPRINGFIELD TWP.  The kids at Young Elementary School are setting an example for others through their fundraising programs.

The students in kindergarten, first, second and third grades have worked all year on a variety of fundraisers that, for the most part, have benefited others.

The students have raised the funds without expecting something in return, leading the way to let others know that when doing something for others, something in return is not necessary.

Just ending in May was Paws for a Cause, a fundraiser to help the Summit County Humane Society to help animals in need. The Student Lighthouse Team, guided by intervention specialist Kate McFeaters and reading teacher Sonya Cunningham, plan and facilitate the fundraiser. Last year, they collected coins to raise money to donate to the society. Although last year’s fundraiser was very successful, this year the team collected pet items for a variety of pets. They collected 242 items, with the third-graders collecting the most, topping the first-graders by two items. There were no prizes for the ones who collected the most, instead they did it out of the kindness of their hearts and their love for the pets in need.

The 10th month of the year at Young is labeled as “Socktober." Students brought in socks to be donated to the Akron Snow Angels, a group that collects items all year and then distributes the items to the homeless during the winter months. Socks are one of the least donated items and one of the most needed. This was the third year for “Socktober.”

“We do it because it is something good to do,” said Young Elementary Literacy Specialist Wendy Bluey.

She and third-grade teacher Melody Bush guided the Kindness Crew through “Socktober.” The Kindness Crew put together a presentation to tell students how the program works and why they were doing it. It made its presentation at one of the Town Hall meetings held for students and staff. 

Bluey said the kids enjoy it and it is something everyone can participate in. The students were very excited as they exceeded their goal of 1,000 pairs of socks.

For quite a few years, first-grade teacher Paula Murphy and high school teacher Larry Murphy have battled through a Penny War to support the Have a Heart for Akron Children’s Hospital’s campaign. The classes compete to see who brings in the most pennies. Each year, the Murphy’s classes travel to Akron Children’s Hospital to deliver their earnings (his year it was $2,900) and then are treated to a McDonald’s lunch on the way back to school.

The one fundraiser that is used for the school is the cookie dough sale. The funds earned by the sale are put to good use as incentives for the Leader in Me program. One use for the money is to help the kids follow the 7 Healthy Habits.

“When kids are following the 7 Healthy Habits they are picked for their good behavior and they get a s’more award which is part of the camping theme," said Young Elementar secretary Tracy Hill.

 She said the dollars earned are also used toward expenses for the Leader In Me program. The fundraiser, in the past, also helped to purchase Smartboards for classrooms.

In November and December, the school holds a food and clothing drive to benefit the Springfield Cares organization which helps families in need at Christmas time. While all Springfield schools participate in their own food drive to benefit Springfield Cares, Young educational assistant Becky Bittinger said the school holds a contest to see which class can collect the most items. Collected items are placed in the showcase and this year Bittinger said they overflowed. The winning class got a cupcake or pizza party.

Bittinger said Springfield Cares needed personal items this year so they held two separate contests for food items and personal care items.

“It was a good year for collections," she said. "Everything collected, clothing, toys, food and personal items are turned over to the organization."

Young Principal Jennifer Ganzer is proud of the efforts throughout the year and the excitement of the children to help others.

“We have very generous families here at Young School," she said. "It’s exciting to see the students eager to support causes outside of our building. It teaches them to give and how important it is to contribute to society.”