A team effort between parents, administrators and students generated more than $28,000 in donations for Ray E. Kilmer Elementary School after students performed more than 800 acts of kindness in the month of October.
From helping neighbors to cooking with parents to supporting teachers in schools, the acts of kindness performed within and beyond the walls of Kilmer turned infectious, leading to serious donations.
“It became the buzz in the school every day. We celebrated individuals every day, and that’s what kids were talking about in the halls,” said Drew Francis, principal. “It ranged from a note thanking a teacher to reading to a sibling, taking and donating toys, helping neighbors with garbage cans and helping parents cook in the kitchen.”
According to Francis, students started to want to become part of the story, and it led to a sense of pride in the school among both staff and students.
“From classmates to teachers to siblings to parents to neighbors to strangers. The kids wanted to make a difference and tell people about it.Drew Francis, principal
The new energy was a pleasant surprise, Francis said, as he and his team did not know what to expect after shifting away from an annual fun run to generate donations.
“Historically what we’ve had is a fun run, where students are asked to get donations based on willingness to run laps for the school, and it was very successful,” Francis said. “This year, many small businesses that historically have supported were not able to commit, so we shifted to using a model from a company called Raise Craze.”
Parent Teacher Organization leaders spearheaded the charge with Angela McMullin and Glenn Thompson donating copious amounts of time to write communications, organize and execute the fundraiser.
“This simply wouldn’t happen without our families, friends and importantly our PTO, including the volunteers who donated countless hours to help make this happen,” Francis said.
The $28,000 will make a large impact upon Kilmer, Francis said, with funds being earmarked for three key initiatives:
- Supporting staff with additional support staff, including teacher assistants
- Supplies for students who need them, including devices and materials for innovation
- Compensating staff who are leading additional meetings or clubs for students
“Funding is a real challenge right now for our schools. We are among the lowest-funded district compared to our neighbors, and we don’t have the flexibility in our general fund budget to be able to tackle some of what we’ve done in the past,” Francis said.
Despite the challenges, the support from the community gives hope to Francis and his staff.
“I would say in any year that you have your staff and your students and your community that come together for one cause and you have great success, it feels great,” Francis said. “Adding on, in a year that is challenging, it feels really good to know you have people supporting Kilmer Elementary and Lewis-Palmer School District 38.
As a surprise and reward for meeting funding goals, Francis even (temporarily) dyed his hair green, the school’s color, to celebrate with students.