Last week, we kicked off America's School Spirit Challenge
which will determine where Care2 will donate over $30,000 to schools around the country.
As schools work to build support for the 8 week challenge (September 20 - November 12), we decided to go back and talk with our spring contest winners and find out what they were doing with the money we donated and how they mobilized their communities to be successful in last year’s challenge. P.S. 37
in Staten Island, New York worked hard to win the top prize of $20,000. As a school that serves students with developmental disabilities and other special needs, the money is an extra boost to help them purchase equipment that will make learning easier. O.B. Gates Elementary School
in Chesterfield, Virginia won third place and is using the money to buy additional instructional supplies for the classrooms. Kasey Shane is Principal of the school and says "The best part of the contest was the unity we saw in our community for the school. I was hooked on reading the positive comments about our school everyday!"
Each week, a random school will win a $500 reward. Grange Hall Elementary School
in Virginia was a winner of $500 during our spring contest. They are using the money to purchase a Promenthean Interactive Whiteboard, which can be used throughout the school. Kathy Sefrin, Principal of Grange Hall, says that the PTA really lead the way in getting the school involved with the challenge. Kathy says it was "a joy" to see the community get involved with the school in the way they did. Sacajawea Elementary School
was another winner of the $500 weekly prize. They are trying to supply each classroom with a camera and a projector to improve student engagement and promote learning. The $500 was able to supply one classroom with one of these sets of tools. Kris Janati, Principal at Sacajawea, said "This contest allowed various members of our community an opportunity to talk about the great things we do together for our kids. In this way, it reiterated and promoted the pride we feel about our school and our community."
Talking with the principals of the schools that have been successful with the America's School Spirit Challenge, one thing comes through -- they would not have been successful without the support and organization of members of the community. Whether it was the PTA or a group of active parents, their involvement was key to helping their school to be successful in the challenge. What else worked?
The parent's of last year's winners, P.S. 37
in Staten Island, New York, brought computers with them everywhere they went and had members of the community sign up and vote. One parent from SOAR Charter Academy
, which placed 2nd in the last contest really got her children involved in helping and turned it into a learning experience. "Not only did they learn to communicate with the public, they practiced typing on the computer, responding to emails, and they got to brag about their school."
With each of these contests that Care2 is able to organize - America's School Spirit Challenge
, the Favorite Shelter
contest, or the America's Love Your Farmer's Market
contest - we at Care2 are reminded about the importance of community support. Our mission is to empower people to do good in a way that’s sustainable for them and their community.
These contests have also led to other great rewards -- parents feel more connected to other parents and the activities at the school, a soapbox for the school to talk to the press about something good, and one school received a "matching gift" allowing them to do even more good things with the money they won.
Have you voted for your school