A little pocket change goes a long way at Westwood Elementary School, and a very long way for one student.
Alison Gott, a nine-year-old Kiwanis K-Kid, raised $360 this month for Pennies for Patients, a national three-week program benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The program teaches elementary and middle school students about giving, encouraging them to donate loose change.
Gott decided to do most of her fundraising in person. Donning an authentic Hungarian dress, she sang “Jesus Loves Me” in Hungarian for a packed house at Brighton Congregational Church.
“We raise money at K-Kids a lot with things like the nut sale,” she said. “The people at the church helped me. I made an announcement and challenged them to raise it for us. They donated $217 right after I sang and the rest came in over the next few weeks.”
Alison’s mother, Barb, said seeing a grandparent survive cancer and information passed to K-Kids about Pennies for Patients inspired her daughter.
“We’ve been blessed in relation to other families when it comes to cancer,” she said. “As soon as Alison saw the presentation at K-Kids about Pennies for Patients, she knew she wanted to do something unique to raise the money, not just go door-to-door.”
Following her lead, K-Kids at Westwood managed to raise more than $1,000.
When asked what advice she’d give other kids on philanthropy, Alison said to not give up too early.
“I just thought about helping kids,” said Alison. “You just have to go with the flow when you’re trying to raise money for something. See how much you can bring in over a couple days. Just go with the flow and don’t get frustrated.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.