Glenwood Springs school project teaches students to think charitably

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

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Fifth grade students at Glenwood Springs Elementary School are learning about the gift of giving during the holidays, while spreading some seasonal cheer around their school.

For the second year, the fifth grade class is selling “Secret Snowflakes” to fellow students, teachers and parents before school and during lunch for 25 cents each. The proceeds will go to three local nonprofit charities, the Advocate Safehouse Project, Extended Table and the Salvation Army.

“The students researched different organizations and debated who they wanted to have as our sponsors this year, then they took a vote,” teacher Gayle Mason said. “It was a very democratic process.”

The snowflakes are used to write down special notes for delivery to classmates, teachers, parents, friends and anyone else the purchaser chooses to send one to.

“So, we’re not only helping the charities, we’re also spreading the holiday spirit within our own school,” Mason said.

The snowflakes will be on sale before school in the cafeteria during breakfast from 7:45-8:10 a.m., and during lunch from 11:20 a.m.-12:15 p.m., each day until the last week before winter break. The messages can be delivered to recipients at any time throughout the day.

“It’s been a big hit,” said fifth grade student Madelyn Young. “I sent a note to my sister in first grade. I told her I love her and that she’s a good speller.”

Other recipients included her cousin, her best friend and her teacher from kindergarten and second grade.

“It’s a really fun project, and it raised money for people who need it,” said fifth grader Grace Nilsson.

Classmate Daniel Acosta said he feels like he’s helping out in a way that helps others.

“We learned that we can help other people beside ourselves,” he said. “It’s important because some people really need the money.”

Last year, the Secret Snowflake project raised about $1,300 for local charities.

“This is a student-run event to empower our fifth graders,” Mason said. “We want to encourage them to see a need for change within their community and to be directly a part of that change.”

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