Teacher Sandra Oliver and her granddaughter Miriya, 3, collect dozens of coin jars from classrooms at Dudley Elementary School in Sacramento County, Calif.
What do a middle school art teacher, a 19-year-old TV news reporter and Mackenzie Rosman, star of the popular TV series “7th Heaven,” have in common? They’re all key players in the CF Foundation’s exciting new fund-raising program, CureFinders.
A spare change collection program that has begun launching in schools nationwide, CureFinders is already a success story, helping to raise funds for CF research while building awareness of CF among schoolchildren and their families.
Volunteers around the country are discovering just how simple it is to start CureFinders at their local schools. Starting the program is easy—introduce the idea to the school, get it accepted and find a CureFinders ambassador who will allow his or her story and picture to be shared with the school.
Staff and volunteers at local chapters have developed an interesting array of ways to incorporate CureFinders. In Raytown, Mo., art teacher Melissa Jones, whose 3-year-old son Aidan is the ambassador, had her students decorate their collection jars in her classes. The Oregon Chapter’s CureFinders ambassador Austin Reed, a 19-year-old TV reporter with CF, is conducting kick-off assemblies tailored to each participating school’s curricular needs and grade levels. Meanwhile, area students are competing to raise the most money in Oregon.
In addition to experiencing the joy of giving and the thrill of competing, the top fund-raising class receives a free lunch provided by a local restaurant. And at the end of the school year, the top fund-raising school in the country will receive a visit from National Honorary CureFinders Chair, Mackenzie Rosman, whose step-sister has CF.
In 2006, the average amount collected by participating schools was approximately $2,000. The friendly competition inspired between Melissa Jones’s art classes resulted in her goal of $1,500 being greatly surpassed: they collected $2,460. At Dudley Elementary School in Sacramento County, when teacher Sandra Oliver, whose 3-year-old granddaughter Miriya has CF, approached her principal, the response was immediate and overwhelming: the next day letters were sent home to all parents in the school, and within a week $2,300 had been collected in a change collection program.
“Starting a CureFinders program is very simple to do, but it has a profound effect,” says Melissa Oliver, Miriya’s mom and Sacramento Chapter volunteer. “It’s not only raising funds, but also raising awareness about CF, and inspiring kids to give. The outpouring of support from these children and their families was so heartwarming. It was just unbelievable!”
CureFinders is a great way to expose students to the joy of community service. For help starting a program at your school, contact your local CF Foundation chapter, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.