Students at All Souls School learned that with a $10 bill they could spread cheer and a helping hand to even the most needy.
Eighth-graders at the Englewood school were given a summer assignment: to use a small amount of seed money and make the world a better place.
William Santino, 13, shared his love of piano and played for hours on the 16th Street Mall downtown.01
He spent $10 to make posters and seek donations from those who stopped to listen. The $58 he raised was donated to House of Hope, a homeless shelter for women and children in Englewood.
“I learned it feels really good to help people,” Santino said. “You don’t have to spend much time or money and you can turn that into a lot.”
The middle school’s religion teacher, Cheryl Prevot, started the project after a parent’s suggestion. She wanted students to put their faith in action and use ingenuity in the process.
“We hoped that they could see how they could make a difference, see how taking a small amount of money could grow or be used to help others,” she said. “The kids are already expected to do some service. But this was above and beyond that in that they also had to be creative.”
Jada Chavez and her classmate Mackenzie Golas partnered and spent $20 on birthday party decorations. With 100 balloons, four rolls of streamers, cards, candles and cupcakes, they walked into Craig Hospital in Englewood to give patients a memorable birthday party.
The impact they had was far greater than the money they spent.
“We decorated a room and we got all the people whose birthday was that month in the room and we talked to them and played board games,” Golas said. “They all had smiles on their face and they seemed really happy.”
Many of the patients who suffered spinal cord and brain injuries did not have family nearby with whom they could celebrate.
“Just the smallest things can make people more happy and feel better,” Chavez said.
Fellow eighth-graders Katie Marcoux and Stefanie Frederickson wanted to raise money to benefit the Dumb Friends League.
They started a dog walking and washing business. Throughout the summer they washed and groomed neighbors’ dogs for $20 and charged $5 for a 30 minute-walk. They raised $410 and donated it.
“It was really fun,” Marcoux said. “My friend and I got to spend time together and we knew our service was helping a lot of people.”
Several other students devised ways to raise money for the All Souls Food Bank.
Andrew Seaman organized a Cornhole tournament for his family and friends. Players threw bean bags toward a board 22 feet away and aimed for the hole in the middle. He collected $4 from each team and awarded the winners $10. He earned $70, which he used to buy groceries at King Soopers and donated to the food bank.
“I learned that it feels really good to help other people in need,” Seaman said.
Colton Ramsey also bought $200 worth of groceries and donated to the same food bank. He raised the money by mowing and watering his neighbor’s lawn while they were out of town.
Tony Gervasini and a classmate spent several weekends selling lemonade, popsicles and water. He donated the $100 raised and gave it to the Kmart layaway program for students in need of school supplies.
In total, the eighth-grade class raised $1,860 to benefit charities including the Denver Rescue Mission, Catholic Charities, Children’s Hospital, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Bicycles for Humanity, the Alzheimer’s Association and more.
“They were all so proud of the services they did and they took it seriously,” Prevot said. “They learned that they really could make a difference with just something so small.”