LYNDONVILLE — Second-graders at Lyndon Town School started with a goal of raising a hundred dollars for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) and ended up quadrupling their initial mark.

The effort brought in $422 to help the VINS’ wild bird rehabilitation program.

In February, the students were presented with a list of local organizations to fundraise for and held a vote, eventually settling on the VINS organization, located in Quechee. Now that they had their mission, they needed a way to raise the money. A former fundraiser was the inspiration for the fundraising efforts, where colored drawings were displayed outside of classroom doors and the classroom with the most drawings displayed won a prize.

Building off that idea, students sold coloring sheets for 25 cents each to the other students in the K-8 school. The second-graders set up tables that displayed the different coloring sheet options, where other students could then purchase one or as many as they would like. By the end, over one thousand sheets were sold.

“The kids were all so proud of the total amount that they were able to raise. They loved presenting their peers with their options and exchanging pages for money,” said second-grade teacher Danielle Blanco. “They were thrilled with the participation from all grades in the fundraiser.” She added that aside from the initial organization by the teachers, the students were the ones to push the fundraising and their enthusiasm and effort were the main driving force for success.

Blanco marveled at the fact of just how involved and excited the students were to raise money for an organization within their community. From the initial brainstorm, to organizing, to selling and even participating, and finally seeing their earnings exceed initial expectations, the fundraiser was viewed as a huge success.

“They truly did a great job,” said Blanco. “Starting with an idea for something local and seeing it happen and come back full-circle. It was exciting for the kids to make a positive change in their community.”

Blanco said community involvement is something that is being encouraged at Lyndon Town School. The philosophy for the fundraiser was not only to make positive change in the community but also to get children involved at an early age and hopefully create a desire and passion for helping those around them.

“It is important for children to be given a sense of relevance in their community,” said Blanco. “When they are offered to generate positive change, they gain a sense of belonging and build resilience.”

Not only did the students raise funds for the VINS organization, they also got the opportunity to learn what the money they raised will be going toward. On Friday, VINS taught a variety of classes to pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade classes. The classes focused on the importance of preserving species and even brought in live birds as part of the course. It was an idea to add relevance to their fundraiser and allow the students to feel accomplished in their efforts.

After the success of the fundraiser this year, Blanco says it will be something Lyndon Town School will continue to do moving forward. She envisions that the teachers will continue to leave it up to the students as to how they fundraise and what organizations they fundraise for, in order to further encourage student-led participation and involvement within their community.

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