Constantly reminded of the virtues of reading, students at Elmira’s Park Manor Public School would like to see the rest of the community share the passion. This week kicks off the school’s ninth annual magazine fundraiser, ‘SOS – Save Our Subscriptions.’ The goal is to raise enough money to give their music program a facelift.
Students plan to fundraise by selling magazine subscriptions through the Canadian Community Reading Plan, in which the company donates 37 per cent of every subscription back to the school. Fortunately for fundraisers, the CCRP also provide all of the incentive prizes which go to students who raise the most money, instead of those prizes having to come from the school’s annual budget. Typically, the two-week long fundraising blitz raises about $40,000 for the school, which staff hope means that it is not necessary to fund raise at other times throughout the year. The program’s chair, Val Melitzer, said this type of fundraising is a great prototype for other schools to learn from.
“Before working on this project I always thought, ‘I’ll support my kids because that’s what parents do,’ but I didn’t necessarily enjoy it. Whereas the magazines I can buy as presents for my daughters and my friends. It’s something I actually want.”
The money raised by last year’s fundraiser was allocated to a variety of different projects within the school, including offsetting the cost of the Grade 8 graduation ceremony, several year-end trips and associated busing costs, library reading programs, and subsidizing the cost of yearbooks.
“We really feel like we go the extra distance with the money that we raise. That is why this campaign is so important for our school. It supports a lot of extracurricular activities for the kids that we wouldn’t be able to afford with just the school’s budget,” Melitzer noted.
This year, the board hopes that the money raised will be put towards upgrading the school’s music program. Staff at Park Manor take pride in their music program as it has been known to launch students into the music program at EDSS and careers in music later in life. Several new violins, a percussion set including an African drum, and an electronic piano have been purchased for the students, and money raised over the next several weeks will likely be allocated to upgrading the lighting system for musical performances.
“We are really proud of this – it’s a wonderful program and it’s a win-win. The students really go all out and they’re enthusiastic about the project. Also, the profits really help to fund a lot of things that we normally wouldn’t be able to do.”
Park Manor has been running this event for nine years, and the 14-person committee which runs “like a well-oiled machine,” has made the school one of the top three schools in the country in terms of fundraising in this fashion. Volunteers, including Val Soehner, who at times throughout her volunteer career with the program did not even have a child enrolled in the school, begin planning for this event in May. The event, said Melitzer, fits perfectly at Park Manor.
“Literacy is a really important component of our school curriculum and that is why we wanted to work with a program that would promote reading in our students.”
Information about the fundraiser is available from the school.
“Or just call somebody you know who is a student at the school and have them come by and do their thing,” she quipped.