Glenwood Springs Middle School eighth-graders aim to raise a football field’s worth of dollar bills for Operation Vacation |

Glenwood Springs Middle School eighth-graders aim to raise a football field’s worth of dollar bills for Operation Vacation

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Dara Chase and Alida Eide know the meaning of philanthropist.

“It’s someone who cares about helping people,” said Dara, soon to be 14 years old.

And helping people is exactly what the two Glenwood Springs Middle School students are doing for their end-of-year project as part of the Program for Educationally Advanced Children (PEAC). The two are raising money for Operation Vacation, which provides military families with an all-expenses-paid weekend vacation to Glenwood Springs.

The PEAC program challenges students to create a project that will give back to the community in some way. That was an easy decision for Alida, who had met Operation Vacation founder Bob Johnson a year earlier at the 2007 humanitarian awards.

“I think it’s a special thing for the soldiers,” Alida said. “And Bob Johnson was really quite happy. He said, ‘It’s going to get out of control.'”

That’s what the two are hoping for. The pair took an idea that Alida’s mother, Nancy Eide, shared with the girls about a money chain she had constructed during her days in Girl Scouts. That was the perfect connection the two girls needed.

They decided to raise enough money, in $1 bills folded and connected into a chain, to stretch the length of a football field. They call it the Dollar Chain Campaign, and they didn’t set a specific amount they wanted to raise, just that they wanted enough to span the entire length. But they soon figured out that the folded dollar bills linked together in a chain will take $20 to equal one foot. That means they need $6,000 to reach from goal to goal, in their quest to help the local nonprofit.

“I think it’s cool,” said Nancy Eide. “They’re doing it all on their own, and they are seeing the world through a different view.”

A view that has them seeing plenty of green. So far the girls have raised $420 in six days.

“The chain is already taller than I am,” Dara said, somewhat shy of two yards tall herself.

It takes the girls about 30 minutes, chatter included, to complete a foot of the chain, according to Nancy. So, these girls have their work cut out for them over the next couple of months. They plan on presenting the money to Bob Johnson at the sixth annual Yagatta Regatta fundraiser for Operation Vacation.

These girls aren’t in it for the money or notoriety. For them it’s all about the soldiers and giving back to the community.

“They’re soldiers. They have to keep going back over [to Iraq] again and again,” Dara said. “If there was a way to help them, why wouldn’t you?”

They posed the question; it’s up to the community to answer.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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