Kids raise money to help peers


“I am proud of my school for helping Riley because when we donate to Riley Hospital, we help find cures for sickness and make children happy,” Allison Burke said.

Perceptive words from a wise-beyond-her-years student at Prairie Trace Elementary. Burke is one of a group of students who, on their own, have been seeking creative ways to raise money to benefit Riley. Fortunately for everyone, the kids are also students in LeAnne Matthews’ 2-3 gifted and talented class.

Prairie Trace Principal Jill Smith said, “Mrs. Matthews saw what the kids were doing and decided it was a great learning opportunity. She was able to tie in real life experiences with the social studies community curriculum. When a teacher can do that, it is a win-win for everyone.”

The self-taught, self-managed kids ran bake sales and lemonade stands to raise money. They also held events to collect toys and games for the patients at Riley. Even during their own birthday parties they asked for donations, looking for every opportunity to achieve their goal.

When Matthews heard about what they were doing, she was happy to turn it into a learning opportunity, but firm that 100 percent of the credit go to her students.

“My role is to keep this process focused on the kids. It is all about them, their connection to their community and what they learn from that. What they have accomplished they have done on their own,” Matthews said.

“We are raising money for kids, and it makes us feel good. I want kids to have long, happy lives and not have to suffer with sickness and diseases. My grandmother died with cancer, and I don’t want it to happen to kids around the world. I think the kids who died with sickness and went to heaven are watching us, and they are proud,” said student Meghna Iyer.

The folks at Riley are proud of these kids as well, recently highlighting their generosity in a blog titled, “Kids These Days: Nine Big-Hearted Kids Who Give Us Hope.” The blog post pointed out the inspiration which comes from kids helping kids.

Riley Reese captures the spirit which is alive and thriving with his pals at Prairie Trace. He said, “I want kids to all be equal, and I want to serve all kids in need. I want to help children by giving them happiness and love.”

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