Sheffield philanthropists

Photo by Michele Murphy

Penny philanthropists Connor Wolford, Hailey Shadle and Addison Casey, second-grade students at Forest Lawn School in Sheffield Lake, enjoyed a pizza party provided by Principal Gretchen Loper after they hauled in the largest amount of pennies collected during Pennies for Patients to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

SHEFFIELD LAKE – They looked under their beds and had parents searching cupboards and under their car seats. Some broke into piggy banks. Children in kindergarten through second grade at Sheffield Sheffield Lake's Forestlawn and Knollwood elementary schools learned every penny counts when it comes to finding a cure for cancer.

Last week, teacher Traci Hoydik's second-grade class enjoyed a pizza lunch provided by Principal Gretchen Loper for contributing the largest amount to a five-day fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Children may not quite grasp the adult concept of philanthropy, but they definitely understood how their efforts contribute to finding a cure.

Connor Wolford explained how serious blood cancers are. Classmate Addison Casey added that some lose their lives from it and Hailey Shadle said the very lucky ones live.

Asked about the penny campaign, Connor said scientists were searching for the medicines people with cancer need.

"It feels really good," said Hailey, "helping a lot of people," added Addison. "We're being good citizens," said Connor.

Loper said they are frequently asked to help raise money for various causes. She believes it is good for kids this age to learn to give back. "It's a great way for kids to learn empathy and what it's like to be in someone else's shoes," she said.

Loper, whose own family was deeply impacted by leukemia three years ago, said she secretly hoped the two buildings would raise $1,000. Having surpassed the $2,700 mark through an effort she emphasized was totally voluntary, she said, "They certainly proved they understood that others may not be as fortunate as they are."

Kindergarten and first-grade classrooms with the highest penny contributions also will be treated to a pizza lunch.

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