Assistant Managing Editor
Kids helping kids was what Ronald’s Walk was all about on Friday at Wapakoneta Elementary School.
The walk was the culmination of a year of fundraising by students, staff members, parents and the community for the Ronald McDonald House, in Dayton.
“We are helping kids,” first-grader Caitlyn Rostorfer said.
The 7-year-old said by collecting pull tabs, they are able to help children and their families, who stay at the Ronald McDonald House while the children are sick.
“The families can go there and it helps the kids feel a little better,” said Caitlyn, who was excited to walk her laps around a track set up in the school parking lot. “That will be my favorite part.”
This year, a goal of $8,000 was set for money raised and 1 million pull tabs collected. The school surpassed those numbers, raising more than $19,129 and collecting more than 3.6 million tabs. Money was still coming in just minutes before this year’s totals were announced.
In the three years since Wapakoneta Elementary School has been open, more than $53,000 has been raised for the Ronald McDonald House and in the five years district elementary school students have taken on the project, they have raised more than $80,000.
“We are helping kids,” kindergartener Kylie Glass said. “It’s important because we don’t want them to have cancer.”
Fourth-grader Ethan Epperson was hoping to reach a new goal of 45 laps running with his friends this year, but most important was earning money for children who are sick and their families.
“The Ronald McDonald House is a place where their families can stay when their children are sick,” Ethan said.
“That way they don’t have to stay at home and worry about their children,” he said, explaining that at the Ronald McDonald House families are given food, drinks and taken care of, and other brothers and sisters have toys with which they can play.
Relating to what the children and the families of those they are helping go through is part of the reason why teachers have chosen the Ronald McDonald House as the school’s annual community service learning project for the fifth year. Before that, they took up other causes beginning in 1997.
Organizers, including, Amy Burke, Darcy Steinke, Mary Beth Webb and Des Duncan, said they also felt they were able to touch more people and all illnesses through the Ronald McDonald House. Since they took on the cause, several students and teachers have witnessed first hand how the facility helps.
Teachers organizing the annual community service learning project for the school said they are hoping it instills in students the desire to help others and hopefully that feeling continues with them as they grow older.
Pointing to the Wapakoneta City Schools mission statement, teacher Amy Burke said their goal is to raise caring and considerate students.
“We want to show through responsible behavior and compassion to others, we can live productive and fun lives,” Burke said. “By doing acts of kindness for others, their reward comes with heartfelt satisfaction.”
As for what the students do to raise money for the cause, Duncan said there are no words to describe it.
Throughout the year, students are fundraising and collecting pull tabs, but they also have donated their allowance money, come up with jobs they can do around the house to donate what they earn, and this year even donating back the profit they made through a chocolate-making business.
“They really come together for this to help others out,” Steinke said.
Webb said everyone can be involved in some way in raising money for the project.
In addition to donating money to the Ronald McDonald House, the children also make items to display there.
She said while it is incredible how much money they raise every year, it is never about how much they are giving, but why they are doing it that is important.