Students raise money for March of Dimes
Two Cape Coral elementary schools participated in the March of Dimes WalkMania to help raise money for the organization.
Regina Toops, March of Dimes Lee County Community director, said the WalkMania provides the students with the experience of doing a walk like the big March for Babies walk that will be held on April 30 at Centennial Park.
“We do the mini walk at the school to help bring awareness to the students,” she said. “It is a nice way for us to get down to their level.”
Toops said March of Dimes provides the teachers with a bundle for each student that includes a cute envelop that the students put money into, along with information for the parents.
“The only thing the teachers have to do is hand out the envelopes and collect them two weeks later,” Toops said.
An incentive is given to the students the day of the walk for the money they collected. She said prizes such as silly bands were given to walkers who raised $10 and backpacks were given to those who raised $25.
“They do phenomenal,” Toops said. “It’s amazing how much money they donate.”
Toops said she has a little envelop pinned on her corkboard that holds 6 cents from an elementary student with a little note that says “this is all for the love of the babies.” She said it was the cutest thing because that was all they probably had in their piggy bank.
Patriot Elementary School guidance counselor Diane Blozis said the entire school participated in WalkMania on March 25, which included 740 pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students.
She said she wanted to get her school involved three years ago because they have had several students who were premature babies.
“It is a worthy cause for our school,” she said. “It is something I chose to start here because of our pre-kindergarten ESE classes.”
Blozis said all of the classes walked around the school in honor of collecting money for March of Dimes.
Throughout the walk, Patriot Elementary School had various stations and tasks set up to engage the students in related issues to March of Dimes. Some of the topics included how many premature babies are born each year, along with how to maintain the correct walking posture. Some of the tasks included jumping jacks and running in place for 30 seconds.
She said the walk took about 35 minutes.
This year Patriot Elementary School raised close to $2,000 for March of Dimes in a week’s time. Blozis said they normally have two weeks to gather money for the cause.
In the past three years they have raised a total of $7,900 for the organization.
Cape Elementary School has participated in WalkMania for the past nine years and has raised a total of $52,000. Physical education coach Lee Ann Theisen is the lead supporter of the walk.
This year they raised $4,000 for the day of the walk and continued to collect money for a couple weeks later.
Theisen said the WalkMania was done by grade level, so everybody could participate without changing any schedules. The children walked for 20 minutes around the field while music was playing. After the walk concluded the students then had the opportunity to eat snacks.
She said March of Dimes came to them and asked if they would like to participate in the event.
“I really liked the way the ladies set everything up,” Theisen said. “They make it a lot of fun.”
She said it is important for the children to understand that you can help other people.
Toops said typically Publix or Kmart donates water, juice and cookies for the students to enjoy after they finish the walk.
“The kids love it and we have such a blast,” Toops said about WalkMania. “It is a great event all around.”
All the money raised goes towards the March of Dimes mission “to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality.”
Toops encourages other elementary schools to call if they are interested in joining the WalkMania next year at 239-433-3463.