At the beginning of December, I started the Second Annual Pennies for Wishes Campaign, in memory of a great little girl, Dana.
She was a phenomenally happy child despite a lot of medical issues. I had the pleasure of knowing her for 1/2 her life, as she was taken at 6 years old. Her death fundamentally changed my 'spirit'. And because of her, I strive to do my part to pay it forward as best as I can, in the little ways I know how. So Pennies for Wishes was born on the anniversary of her death in 2010 to celebrate life.
The object was simple. Each classroom gets a container and fills it with the loose change they might find lying around. But when every penny counts in each family's dynamic, especially in these rough economic times, I truly wasn't thinking we would raise more the an a hundred dollars for A Wish Come True, a Southern New England wish granting non-profit organization. But what happened was amazing. We raised over $620 that first year.
With the success of last year's endeavor, I felt it was important to keep the momentum going. But not all of the students, let alone the staff, remembered Dana. It didn't matter. People still gave. I even had a little preschooler come up to me with a bag of coins and a note saying she wanted to donate her money from her piggy bank to the Pennies for Wishes. I wanted to cry, I was so touched.
So over vacation, I spent a good amount of time counting and rolling coins and dollars that were collected during the four weeks prior to winter break. 15,000 pennies and then some. I was floored. The generosity of the students, families and staff was overwhelming yet again. Amazingly, everyone exceeded my expectations, and last year's amount by over $100.
With each wish granted averaging $5000, each penny counts. Though I am sure we all have a few pennies lying around, it is when you put them together that you see the change- pun intended-. And if we are able to help out children with life threatening disease and their families experience a little joy, then it was all worth while.