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Non-profit fair informs Gulf students

By Staff | Apr 23, 2011

By MEGHAN McCOY
mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com
Twenty-three fourth grade students at Gulf Elementary School held a non-profit fair Thursday morning to teach other students about the organizations they spent time researching and how they can help.
Teacher Vanessa York said she wanted to introduce a project that would teach students that they to can do something to help a non-profit organization.
“You can help change the world no matter how young you are,” Emma Padgett, one of the fourth grade students said.
York said the project also taught the students that spreading the word about an organization to someone who has the means to help can also provide assistance for them.
The excitement Padgett felt after she completed her research about United Way poured into many conversations she found herself having with friends and family. She said sometimes she provided too much information about the organization.
Elizabeth Olancin, another teacher who was involved in getting the fair started, said the students were provided with a list of 13 non-profit groups from which they could chose to research for the fair.
Those organizations included the Cape Coral Caring Center, Lee County Animal Shelter, United Way, Locks of Love, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, American Red Cross, Gulf Coast Humane Society, Salvation Army, Hope Club House, Animal Refuge Center, Community Cooperative Ministries Incorporated, Ding Darling and Boy Scouts of America.
York said the students had to take a field trip to the organization they picked after school with their parents so they could find out more. As part of the process, they had to interview someone and take a tour.
The students also furthered their knowledge by doing research on the organization’s website for the fair. Once the information was collected the students produced a minute to minute-and-a-half commercial as well as backboards and brochures for the fair.
The commercial contained pictures the students took or found about the organization they visited, its mission statement, various statistics and what adults and students can do to help.
York said the students had to select lyrics that matched their organization’s mission to accompany their commercial. They had to tell her the reason why the song fit the organization before they were allowed to use it.
The backboard that the students designed were all brightly colored with pictures, a mission statement, statistics about the organization and a few ideas of how adults and children could help the non-profit.
“I really enjoyed making the backboard,” Padgett said. “All these boards are going to help the organizations a lot.”
A table was set up for each group, which was accompanied by the students who researched that particular non-profit.
Throughout the day on Wednesday the participating students took students from other classrooms on a guided tour to visit the 13 tables. The guide also played the commercial for them and read what was on the backboard.
One student who participated in the fair found a new pet after she chose the Animal Refuge Center as her organization to research.
Madison Fallacara said she decided to pick the center because she likes animals and wanted to know how she could help them.
She said her aunt fell in love with Odie, who was taken to ARC after his former owner, a police officer, died in a motorcycle accident in January.
“He’s playful,” Fallacara said about her new dog.
The student said she was surprised to find out that the Animal Refuge Center gets all of their food from donations to feed the animals.
Fallacara said she enjoyed doing the project because she can show others what she learned, along with educating them on how they can help.
Olancin said she believes there will be many more of the non-profit fairs to come in the future.
“We are very proud of them,” she said. “They did a wonderful job.”