Minot Forest students pinch pennies for Turning Point

Mar 13, 2015

They say every penny counts, and for the students at Minot Forest Elementary, they're counting and collecting pennies to help others in need.

Students on the MVP Team (Minot Values and Pride) helped to organize a school-wide event called “Penny Wars,” where students were encouraged to bring in spare change to raise money for a worthy cause in town.

“It was quite a challenge, but the best part was, everybody took part,” said Minot Forest English teacher and MVP Team coordinator Mike Houdlette, who along with paraprofessional Cheryl Scannell helped organize the effort.

The group raised a total of $211.26 to be donated to Turning Point, a Wareham organization that helps the homeless and near homeless in town.

Earlier this year, students at the school, which includes Pre-Kindergarden, third, and fourth grades, brought in the change, with students from the MVP Team getting to school early every Wednesday to count it and see which students brought in the most.

The "Penny War" was a competitive fundraiser that pitted homeroom against homeroom in an effort to raise money for the cause. 

On Friday morning, David Shaw, a representative of Turning Point and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Wareham Area Committee for the Homeless, was on hand at Minot Forest to accept the donation from some of the students on the MVP Team.

“Every month, over 100 people come to Turning Point,” Shaw told the students. “Every little bit helps. If the money helps someone keep their home, it can keep them from being homeless. And we appreciate all the hard work you did.”

Fourth-grader Cailysce Blake said the hardest part of the process was counting all the change and recording which students donated what. She said the group used a point system to see who each week’s top donor was, though she said there was no actual prize given to the winners.

“The person who had the most at the end of the week won a high five — from the air,” she said.

Houdlette said the MVP Team is a newly formed community service group that’s aimed at building a connection between the students themselves as well was among the people of Wareham.

“We want to build a community here,” said Houdlette. "We want students to know we’re all on the same team. Sometimes, the kids hear negative comments about the town. We want to turn that around at a young age.”