Children helping the fight against leukemia

Students at St. Paul Catholic School are working to cure cancer while also building character through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program.

According to The Weirton Daily Times:

Pennies for Patients is a three-week program for elementary and middle schools where students collect change and raise funds online while learning about service and philanthropy. Thanks to Olive Garden, Student Series’ national partner, LLS has designed a series of lesson plans for teachers to use in the classroom in response to the growing trend of making serving learning and character education part of the curriculum. The lesson plans integrate the theme of LLS’s Pennies for Patients programs into all academic areas.

“By participating, not only will kids learn about making an impact, but about leadership, teamwork, philanthropy, and what ‘doing good’ for others can mean,” said LLS’s Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia Chapter Executive Director Tina Thompson. “It’s a program that is truly meaningful because kids learn that their efforts really make a difference. As children move through their years at school, they can grow with the Student Series.”

St. Paul Catholic is among thousands of schools across the United States participating in the LLS program, which focuses on helping students set and reach goals and design programs that boost community involvement in the fight against leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma.

“Since it began in 1993, Student Series has helped LLS invest almost $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough cancer treatments that are saving lives today, and improving the quality of life for patients and their families,” according to the news site.

This year, elementary students at the Weirton Catholic school raised $2,006.93 for cancer research.

But the money is only one benefit of the program.

“Character reflects the affirmation of our commitments to a larger community, the embrace of an ideal that attracts us, draws us, animates us, inspires us,” James Davison Hunter wrote in The Death of Character.

The qualities of leadership and philanthropy that the students of St. Paul Catholic School are demonstrating will only grow as the students’ commitment to helping others grows.

The Student Series program is one of several programs through LLS aimed at developing good character, leadership skills, and philanthropy. Others include Collect for Cures for high school students and a Students of the Year program.

The 2017–18 Student Series campaign includes a K-5 STEM curriculum aligned with Common Core learning standards that offers teachers hands-on experiential activities and other lessons on key skills.

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues also offers lessons for students to think about their life’s purpose and goals, and help guide students to a fulfilling life that puts selfless service to others above pursuits of wealth, status, and power.

In one lesson, students are tasked with imagining their lives 70 or 80 years into the future, and to reflect on the things that motivated them by considering Aristotle’s vision of good character centered on courage, fairness, generosity, and other important virtues.

How this nonprofit is helping teachers forge connections with families

A nonprofit education funding website is launching a campaign to help teachers raise money to host “family engagement nights” at their schools., which operates like a crowdfunding site for teachers, is working with the Carnegie Corporation of New York to help promote “family engagement nights,” where educators can better connect with the parents of students in their classrooms.

Celeste Ford, spokeswoman for the foundation, told Education Week Carnegie plans to match up to $500,000 of money raised for the family engagement nights through teacher proposals posted to

The website has helped educators raise money for their classrooms for 20 years, and Carnegie will be looking for creativity in proposals for the family engagement nights to match money raised dollar-for-dollar. Tim Sommer, partnerships director at, said the website expects to receive about 200 proposals from across the country.

“Teachers of all grade levels are eligible to apply, including those in early childhood programs, Sommer said. They will follow the same pitch process as they would for any fundraising campaign on, but must focus on explaining why they need certain supplies for their particular idea for a family engagement night,” Education Week reports.

The news site notes that the effort coincides with a change in federal regulations in the Every Student Succeeds Act that replaced a focus on “parental involvement” with one of “parent and family engagement.”

“Moral education can work where the community, and schools and other institutions within it, share a moral culture that is integrated and mutually reinforcing; where the social networks of adult authority are strong, unified, and consistent in articulating moral ideals and their attending virtues; and where adults maintain a ‘caring watchfulness’ over all aspects of a young person’s maturation,” University of Virginia sociologist James Davison Hunter writes in The Tragedy of Moral Education in America.

Fold told Education Week that fostering a closer connection between families and teachers is a growing priority for education philanthropists. The partnership with is designed to provide funding to make that happen.

Teachers can set up a campaign on the website, and explain what goods they may need to host a family engagement night. screens applications to ensure they’re legitimate, and that teachers requesting help are from a traditional public school or public charter school. Once approved, the fundraising begins and can last up to four months, or until the goal is met.

Once the campaign is fully funded, orders the materials and sends them directly to the teacher. The site has helped teachers raise nearly $600 million over the last two decades, with the average project funded at just under $600. expects to approve proposals for family engagement nights with the hope of turning them into a reality by the end of February. The site will also ask parents and community members to fill out a survey to gauge which programs worked best.

“Those who successfully fill out the information on site right after the activity will get a gift card through which they can play the role of education philanthropist by deciding which project in their school or district should get some more funding,” Education Week reports.