NCS raises $1,196 with Christmas giving project
Dec 14, 2012 (Newton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Three weeks ago, the 65 students at the Newton Christian School formulated a modest goal for their annual Christmas giving project: two goats.
While the farm animals may seem like an unusual holiday gift, the goats, provided through the Samaritan's Purse organization to villages in need in third-world countries, are truly a gift that keeps on giving.
NCS students realized this and surpassed the original goal of $140 by raising $1,196 -- enough to send 17 goats to villagers in need all over the world.
"We always do some sort of Christmas project," explained Dean of Students Mary Patterson. "I left the catalog out for the teachers to look through, and this just seemed so tangible for the kids."
Unlike past projects that typically engaged parents more than the students themselves, Patterson said that this year's effort directly involved students, many of whom worked for the money they donated.
"They'll come in with their little Ziploc bag, and maybe it has 28 cents in it," she said. "This has been more them giving than their parents."
To add to the fun, Patterson has turned the project into a competition of sorts.
"Each day we'd put up a PowerPoint of how the kids were doing so they could see where they are in terms of fundraising," she said, explaining students have been divided into teams by grade level. "I always show the PowerPoint at lunch and they'll make little plans like, 'who's going to bring more tomorrow ' 'I have five dollars I can bring in!'"
While competing against classmates makes for fun, Patterson emphasized to the students the true meaning behind their donations.
"There's no prize or anything, but they're so excited to give anyway," she said. "We don't want them to think you give because you get something, but to give so they see how blessed they are. Not everyone in the world has these things, so it's really to bless others."
This sentiment held especially true for second-grader Emily Wergmager.
"I was really excited because they showed us a movie about this woman who had a goat and they said that one goat can change 1,000 lives," she said. "That's just so powerful to me, all the people we could bless."
In addition to immediately providing milk for villagers, goats also have the potential to produce cheese, fertilizer for crops and, of course, more goats.
Mitchell Van Zee, another second-grader, agreed that what seems miniscule to us has the potential to impact others in a big way.
"God has blessed us with so much so we can bless others, even if it's just a little money that we bring in," he said.
Third-grader Morgan Peterson helped clean and vacuum to earn money toward the school's goal while second-grader Kallie Van Kley helped decorate her family's Christmas tree.
First-grader Kampbell Koons donated a bit more, despite saving up to buy something special.
"Right now I just have a boy's bike," she said. "I was saving to buy a bike, but it's important for other kids to stay healthy and not die. I was excited because we can give milk and cheese to other kids who don't have food."
In order to make the project even more concrete to NCS students, Patterson helped arrange a special surprise for the students this morning.
"We have a student whose aunt raises goats, so we thought it'd be fun to have her bring one out for the kids to see," she said.
In an assembly this morning, after announcing the final totals, she surprised the students with the animal's visit.
"We have a goat who followed us to school this morning," she said to the crowd of excited kids. Class by class, they were allowed out onto the playground to feed and pet the goat.
After working so hard helping to clean her house in order to not only meet a goat, but send 17 to needy villages, did the project pay off for Peterson
After thinking about it for a second, she smiled.
"It was all worth it," she said.
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