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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

School Charity Events Can Have A Big Impact and Teach Kids Valuable Lessons


All Children's Walk-A-Thon at Seminole
Elementary School. Marina Marasco on
far left, was born with a condition called
omphalocele and has had 21 surgeries
since birth. 
If you have kids in school or if you are a relative of a child in school, you know how you get asked to donate money for so many different charitable organizations. The kids read books, jump rope and walk to raise money for charities. Just recently the elementary school that my two girls go to had a Walk-A-Thon for All Children’s Hospital. Since my girls have attended Seminole Elementary School they have participated in the event. The event has actually been going on for the past 27 years at the school. Each year they collect money and walk, but it wasn’t until this year that the event really hit home with them. 
The day before the walk, my youngest daughter, Graci, came home from school and told me she wanted to get money out of her piggy bank for a girl in kindergarten at her school who was on the morning school news. This little girl said she loved All Children’s Hospital and had been there for 21 surgeries since she was born. My daughter told me the little girl was going to have another surgery to get a new belly button and she wanted to donate money for it. Graci said, “Mom, she is so cute.” I was touched Graci was willing to help a child at school that she didn’t really know, but knew could benefit from her giving money for the walk-a-thon. 
The next day, the kids participated in the All Children’s Hospital Walk-A-Thon event. Little did we know that one Graci’s friends in her first grade class would end up the day after the walk going to All Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery for her appendix and intestines.  We talked about how the money they helped raised was going to help their friends from school. I think that’s when my two girls really understood what a charity event was all about.

My two girls, Graci and Randi play air hockey with their friend
in the playroom at All Children's Hospital
My daughters wanted to visit their friend and Graci’s classmate at All Children’s Hospital. We went to the hospital and they got to see how well the children were being taken care of. Their friend said she was given some toys from the nurses, there was a playroom with air hockey and a jukebox and they even played bingo. It is hard enough being sick and the hospital goes out of their way to try and make the kids feel comfortable away from home. I thought for a minute my kids might want to get hurt or be sick just so they could stay at the hospital because it was so nice.

I think when you have something happen and you see a charity up close and personal you really realize where your money is going and you feel like you’ve helped, even if it is just a little. I found out since 1987, the students from Seminole Elementary School have raised approximately $180,752 for the palliative care program at All Children's Hospital. The total raised this year has not been released. On a personal level, this event helped my girls learn that giving and helping others is better than receiving.

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