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July 2014

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Collected coins provide toys for kids through Prairie View and CCC

The weeks of coin collecting included prom dresses and water balloons, but in the end provided $900 worth of toys for kids through the Waukesha County Christmas Clearing Council.

During Prairie View Elementary School's annual Coins for Kids drive from Nov. 1-16, students dropped coins into jars to vote for crazy activities that resulted in Principal Tracy Hein getting pelted with water balloons and wearing a prom dress.

"In the past, I have had to kiss a pig and present a lunchtime concert in the cafeteria," said Hein.

Students were encouraged to do chores around the house to earn extra change. The coins earned were collected at the beginning of each day, and running totals were kept of each grade level's contribution.

Over the 10 years Prairie View has been doing Coins for Kids, students have raised more than $12,000 to put toys on the shelves at the Waukesha County Christmas Clearing Counc il.

Each class selected a toy to put on the shopping list, which is included in the items purchased for the Clearing Council. Seven families were also sponsored this year, in addition to the toy donations. Staff members purchased specific items for the families from the giving tree in the staff lounge.

With shopping lists and calculators in hand, 14 student advisory members donned elf hats and headed to Target in Delafield on Dec. 1 with the goal of making someone's Christmas brighter.

Sixth-grader Abby Moravec said it was a "really good experience, not only to bond" with other student advisory members, but to "do something good for other people." She said it was difficult to stay within their budget because "we wanted to make everyone happy."

While fifth-grader John Baker thought it was fun to help with the crazy ideas during the coin drive, he liked being able to make other children happy by giving them a toy.

"I thought it was really cool knowing they would have a good Christmas and would have a smile on their face," said John.

In her second year of shopping for the Clearing Council, sixth-grader Claire Vock said the shoppers had to "put their heads together" to make sure they got everything on their list and not go over their budget, but it was a fun thing to do with friends.

"Some kids who don't get to have everything we do will have something under the Christmas tree," said Vock.

Hein said the Prairie View staff illustrates a quote she has in her office from St. Francis of Assisi: "Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you received - only what you have given."

"I think our staff lives that and that our kids learn, through our special projects throughout the year, that it truly is better to give than to receive," Hein explained. "With all this, we are trying to instill in the kids how important it is to look beyond ourselves and help others. We have many community service projects throughout the year, but this annual coin drive hits home with our students; they can relate to the excitement this time of year brings and can imagine what it would be like to go without. If our little coin drive brings a smile to even one person, then it is worth all the effort ... kissing pigs and all!"

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