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The Power of the Penny

Students from Olde Sawmill Elementary School collect pennies in their neighborhood.

All across the country, there are people in need. Some kids in Dublin, Ohio, are trying to change that through Penny Harvest, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help kids solve problems in their community. Olde Sawmill Elementary (OSE) School in Dublin has been participating in Penny Harvest for the past three years.

During that time, OSE has raised more than $6,500 and donated to six local charities, including Cozy Cat Cottage and Buckeye Ranch and Cozy Cat Cottage. Buckeye Ranch helps kids who have gone through depression or abuse, while Cozy Cat is an animal shelter that is just for cats.

The Penny Harvest Program is divided into three stages. First, students raise money, and Student Leaders get their school excited to help the community. Classes generate causes that they’d like to donate to, come up with a goal, and get going. William Smialek, 11, says, "It’s not every day you get to raise money and know that every cent you get is going to help people. That’s pretty cool.”



After the students and faculty raise money, Student Leaders conduct research and interviews to learn more about the organizations that interest students. Makenzie O’Connor, 13, a former Student Leader, says that she still uses the life skills she gained in Penny Harvest. “We had to call the organizations [and] set up the appointments. Sometimes, talking on the phone was nerve-wracking, and I had to learn to stay calm.”

Once all candidate organizations have been interviewed and Student Leaders have written detailed observations, the voting begins. Grant Smialek, 11, says that it’s hard to choose his favorite part of the process. “Everything was really fun," he says. "But if I had to choose, it would be the satisfaction of [knowing that] the money we raised was going to someone in need.”

Adds Head Coach Janet DiSilvestro: "Penny Harvest shows kids that it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, you can make a difference."



Janet DiSilvestro