Anonymous donor encourages students to pay it forward

| December 23, 2015

WARSAW – A Warsaw resident saw a story on television one night about a man who gave $50 to two boys who ordered a feast for an African village. The local resident decided he wanted to do something to help community members locally, so he approached River View Junior High School Principal Jerry Olinger about getting the junior high students involved.

“The one stipulation the donor has is that the money has to be used to make someone else happy,” said Olinger. “This is looking for somebody who really has a need.”

The anonymous donor wanted to choose 20 junior high students to give $50 to better the lives of people in the community. To choose 20 students, each junior high student was asked to write a prompt about what they would do if given $20 to help members in the community. The students do writing prompts each day, so they had no idea they were actually being screened for this project. Out of those submissions, 22 students were chosen who then met with the donor and were surprised to receive $50 instead of the promised $20. Teachers donated $100 total to fund the two extra students.

“They were in shock,” said Michelle Zimmerman, a teacher at the school involved with the project. “I don’t think they knew what to think.”

Some kids who were chosen want to help family members who have fallen on hard times, one wrote about a family member who couldn’t afford medications, one has a family member who has foot problems and can’t afford to buy new shoes, some wanted to give the money to local homeless residents, and one student wants to use the money to make quilts to give to nursing homes.

“We didn’t base their entry on grammar or spelling,” said Jerri Fitch, a teacher at the school also involved in the project. “We based it on their thoughts and ideas.”

Although this is the students’ project, Olinger thought it best that their parents are made aware of the project. Letters were sent home, and when the students returned the letters signed by their parents, they were handed the $50 to begin their project.

“We trust our students here,” said Olinger. “We’re pretty sure the 22 students would have done what we asked of them, but we wanted to inform the parents as well.”

The donor also wants a report back on who the $50 was given to and what it was used for.

“The donor said you’ll make three people happy each time, the person who receives the money, the student given the $50, and the donor will be really happy that he had a hand in that,” said Olinger. “They’re getting a gift from our donor to be able to help someone out in their time of need.”

There will be a dinner in late February or early March for the 22 students, their parents, and the donor where students will share their stories on how they used their $50.

[email protected]

Tags: , ,

Category: Education

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

Comments are closed.