Girls on the Run host penny war
PALMDALE — Manzanita Elementary School’s Girls on the Run running team wrapped up a twoweek penny war fundraiser on Dec. 20, by raising $1,558 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The team featured 19 students in third through fifth grade.
Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams, according to a description on its website.
The program incorporates running while girls learn to understand themselves, value relationships and teamwork, and recognize how we can all shape the world, Manzanita Elementary Principal Susan Summers said.
“The life skills that these young girls learn can be carried with them as they enter their upper elementary and middle school years to give them tools to succeed in every situation they may face growing up,” she wrote in a text.
The 10-week Girls on the Run after-school program culminates in a non-competitive 5K.
The team met every Thursday and Friday, working for the first 45 minutes on a confidence boosting and character-building curriculum and the last 45 minutes, in a running activity that puts the lessons into practice.
“The girls set personal goals for the week based on the lessons and fitness goals at practice, to get them prepared for the 5K at the end of the season,” Summers wrote.
Three Sundays ago, 16 of the 19 girls on the team drove to Whitter Narrows to run a 5K, which was the first for many of the students.
The girls rallied together with their families, coaches, school staff and hundreds of other Girls on the Run teams from elementary and middle schools all over Southern Califor
nia and ran the twisty dirt course wet from that morning’s rain.
“All our girls crossed the finish line with smiles and their confidence at an alltime high,” Summers wrote.
As part of a community outreach project and an important part of the Girls on the Run curriculum, the girls on the team were responsible for choosing an organization or group to help. In previous seasons, the team collected items for people experiencing homelessness in Palmdale or for students in the Palmdale School District.
This year, Summers said, the girls felt passionate this holiday season, about helping children suffering with cancer. After much research on what children their ages in the hospital really want, the girls decided that all the money they raised would help buy art supplies to bring some holiday cheer to the youth at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The team raised the nearly $1,600 through a schoolwide penny war competition. Kindergarten through fifth-grade students competed with each other to rack in the most points to win an ice cream party for their entire grade level.
This competition was not simply “filling your grade level with money” but being strategic about which jar your coins were put in. In a penny war, only pennies and dollar bills are counted as positive points, Summers said.
All silver coins are counted as negative points. Additionally, there were eight buckets with faces of different teachers, administrators and school staff that were an added bonus to the penny war. The goal was to fill each bucket with at least $20. If any of the buckets at the end of the two weeks had $20 or more in it, then the teacher featured on that bucket “earned” a whipped cream pie straight to the face, by a student.
After 10 days of fundraising, the Girls on the Run team held an assembly hosting the entire school, where the girls not only revealed the amount raised, the winning grade level, and pied every single one of the eight school staff members, but they shared with the entire school, how much of a difference this fundraiser was going to make in the community and how much they have been positively affected by seeing their school come together in such a manner.
“After the assembly, the students, parents and staff of Manzanita exited the cafeteria with faces sticky with smiles, laughter, just a little bit of whipped cream, but hearts full of the holiday spirit knowing that they had made a huge change just in time for winter break,” Summers wrote.
Manzanita Elementary School’s Girls on the Run team raised nearly $1,600 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital via a Penny War competition at their school.