For its annual service project, the fifth-grade class at Shipley’s Choice Elementary School voted to raise money for JDRF.
The fifth-graders have a personal connection to this foundation, as one of their classmates has Type 1 diabetes.
“It enabled them to make the connection to him, and then their mission and their fundraising had a purpose,” said fifth-grade teacher Lucy Nash. “He became the face of juvenile diabetes for them, so they could make that connection.”
Students had a starting goal of raising $5,000, which they exceeded halfway through the school year. By the end of May, the students raised more than $8,000 to donate to JDRF.
“From start to finish, we wanted this to be their fundraiser, their service project where they picked exactly what they were doing,” said Kristin Jackson, a fifth-grade parent and one of the three parent organizers for the project. “They pretty much were involved or participated in every single activity the whole year.”
Jackson organized the project with Carolyn Campion and Janel Rollin.
“We wanted to do things that would educate kids on what diabetes is and what does a diabetic’s life look like on a day-to-day basis,” Campion said. “Ultimately, we were hoping after we did that, armed with knowledge, they could then do these fundraisers and spread that knowledge to the community.”
Kristina Florczyk, a fifth-grade teacher, said that the student with diabetes was able to be more open about his life because his classmates had a better understanding from the project. The connection also helped students be better engaged with the project.
“They’re more willing to want to do the fundraisers and want to learn about it and share that information with other people,” Florczyk said.
Fifth-grader Annie Campion said this project helped her learn the importance of helping others.
“In this matter, I’m a little more fortunate than other people. People who have diabetes, they can do everything I can, they just have to be really careful, and that seems really hard,” Annie said. “I learned that it’s important to do these things because you’re making the world a better place and you’re helping people.”
One of the students has an aunt who has diabetes, and she came in to give an educational presentation about the condition.
“She taught us about how insulin helps our bodies and that when you have Type 1 diabetes, it doesn’t work, so you have to have insulin put into your body,” said fifth-grader Natalie Bonk. “I also learned that you have to be very careful about what you eat, and you can’t eat too much sugar.”
Through the project, students made not only the community more aware of Type 1 diabetes but also themselves.
“It made it seem not so far away. Suddenly you’re alert to it,” Carolyn Campion said. “It brings the community together in that way.”