The Penny Harvest, which is the nation's largest youth philanthropy program, is kicking off in 15 different Colorado schools over the next couple weeks. It's a service-learning program founded in the New York City Public Schools designed to have elementary school kids collect pennies from their community and then decide where they want to grant the money they've raised to help their community.
Since its inception in 1991, New York City grade schoolers have harvested and given away more than $6 million. The program has expanded to Albany, NY, Seattle and the state of Florida. This fall, more than 500,000 students are harvesting pennies for the program.
Fourth grader Elena Gonzalez and 3rd grader Josheline Chavez are on the student council at Skyline Vista Elementary School in Adams County School District 50. The two told their fellow students in a school-wide assembly Wednesday what they said to their neighbors as they were out collecting pennies.
Each class in the school has suggested what it believes should be the school's priorities, where it believes the money should be donated. Among the possible groups to be helped: homeless children, injured soldiers, and groups that encourage children to wear bicycle helmets.
In the winter, the student council will hold what's called a "philanthropy roundtable" where non-profits in the community will present their cases to the kids, who will then decide where the money is given. In the spring, all students are encouraged to participate in a neighborhood service project to help address community problems.
The Colorado schools which have signed up so far to participate in the Penny Harvest include: Denison Montessori, Denver Center for International Studies, Columbian Elementary, Skyline Vista Elementary, Meadow View Elementary, Graland Country Day School, The Logan School, Morris Elementary (Yuma), Canyon Creek Elementary, Eastridge Elementary, Centennial K-8, Lowry Elementary, William Roberts School, Polaris at Ebert, and Meiklejohn Elementary.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Penny Harvest or signing your school up to participate, visit http://pennyharvest.org/colorado.
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