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Elementary Students Support Children's

5/23/2008 

A lesson is giving back to the community amazed the principal of Freedom Elementary School in Farmersville when the school's fourth and fifth-graders surpassed expectations and raised more than $3,700 for Children's Hospital Central California. The money was presented to Foundation representatives during a school assembly.

Several months ago, Judy Lucas challenged her students to support the local Kiwanis Club's fundraising efforts by bringing in their loose pocket change. At most, she expected they'd raise about a hundred dollars but the primary objective was to expose the kids to the experience of giving to others.

Lucas partnered with Cheryl Vera, club director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias to rally the kids behind the fundraising effort. Two weeks later, the campaign raised more than $3,700.

"The students were never promised anything in return for raising money," said Lucas. "They just sensed the importance of as well as the virtue in giving back to the community."

Few students at Freedom Elementary come from affluent families. In fact, many of the kids are well-acquainted with their parents' day-to-day struggles to cover basic needs. So when students brought in change by the bagful, it was a poignant experience.

One student brought in her bag of change and told Mrs. Lucas "she had cleaned her room and this is what she found." Another parent wrote a letter to the principal, stating that her daughter helps her grandmother with light cleaning around the house and helps with the younger siblings in return for $20 a week. The girl had been saving for weeks to buy something special for herself; however, a change of heart led her to ask her mom to put her savings in an envelope so she could take it to school in order to give it to Children's Hospital. She presented Mrs. Lucas an envelope containing $120.

Children's Hospital Central California serves thousands of children each year, and the students of Freedom Elementary have learned - in many cases from first hand experience with siblings or friends - the benefits of world class pediatric care being available to the children of the San Joaquin Valley.