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Sixth graders

CHESTERTOWN North Warren Elementary Sixth-Grade Teacher Lori Korniak was inspired after watching how Oprah Winfrey gave 15 people $1,500 and allowed them 15 hours to give it away. So on St. Patricks day, when Korniaks 19 students entered their classroom, the words This Is Your Lucky Day were written on the blackboard. On each of her students desks sat a bank envelope containing 15 dollars. There are only two stipulations to receiving the money, Korniak explained to the children. You must give it to a stranger, and you must record yourself giving the money away. You may use the money for random acts of kindness or you can try and help someone in need. To Korniaks delight, the kids couldnt wait to begin. Things started happening very fast, she said. Kids started getting ideas, getting organized. Then, other faculty members began getting involved, including Vivienne Frederick, who helped set up a blog, so the kids could share their progress online with each other. Korniak's 6th grade class ended up with 12 total projects six students working individually, plus six groups. The variety and extent of the childrens charitable acts surprised many adults, teachers said. Students Victoria Bravo and Chelsea Hayes set up a grocery cart in school for donations to the Chestertown food pantry. They also used their $30 to buy additional food, and received an extra donation from a generous woman behind them in line, when they ran out of money. The girls delivered 12 shopping bags and three large boxes filled with food to the food pantry. Classmates Ian Griffen and Jared Howe raised $171 to purchase blankets, pillows, and comforters for the Pottersville Fire Department, which is sometimes used as a shelter for people who have lost electricity. Kylie Hayes and Alexandria Clark adopted four disabled men from the Warren-Washington ARC. We got them an Easter basket and movies and cards, said Alexandria, smiling. Kylie also used some of her money to purchase coloring books, crayons, and other supplies for the Pre-K program at North Warren. Lexi Pratt and Janae Williamson raised over $700 by designing a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. With the money, they supplied two local boys with eyeglasses, another boy with some toys, and purchased an umbrella and a picnic table for the playground. Sofia Robbins raised money for a 21-month-old girl with leukemia and her family. I raised $586 , she said. by putting donation buckets all around town. With the money, Sofia bought the family $200 worth of gas cards for driving to Albany Medical Center, plus $100 dollars in toys for the little girl and her five-year-old sister, and the rest, she gave them in cash. Maxwell May raised money from recycling bottles and cans he collected. With his $71.40, he bought a computer game and some heavy duty headphones for a woman very special to him named Lisa, who works at CWI Community Workshop. Jamie Fish placed a box outside his classroom with a sign above that said Help the ASPCA, Please Donate Now. The box was soon filled with collars, leashes, cat food, dog food, animal toys, dishes, and blankets. Kimberlee Fariss had a bake sale and raised $266.25 for backpacks, school supplies, art supplies and stuffed animals for school kids in Iraq. Josef Strauss turned his $15 into $40, after selling $25-worth of first-aid kits. He donated his money to the Scott Remington Spinal Cord Benefit. Sierra Liebelt and Danielle Primeau visited Betty Cornelius at the North Creek Nursing Home who likes getting her hair done and wanted to renew her newspaper subscription. With the girls $30, plus some extra donations, Betty got her wishes. Jacob Hill also visited Betty, without the knowledge of her other young benefactors. Jacob had raised $85 dollars which filled up a basket with lotion, candy, homemade cookies and a lot of make-up. She was so surprised and so happy and I sat and talked with her for about an hour, and when it was lunch-time I pushed her in her wheel chair to the dining room, Jacob said. Iain Underwood, Mike Swan, and Dan Hill put together a gift basket filled with chocolates, a robe, some slippers and lotion for Roseanne Tennyson, an elderly woman living in Chestertown, who was overjoyed by the visit. I heard she even tried to hug you, Miss K. asked the trio. And she was successful, Iain announced to the class, smiling. Even though the 15 days are officially over, the Big Give continues. Its like a train it keeps gaining momentum Korniak said, noting that students were already planning some more acts of kindness to do over the summer. This is one of the most memorable parts of my life, Iain Underwood said. Its changed a lot of how I think about things, too. Korniak answered. Theres really no correlation between happiness and how much money you make its how you spend your money, thats the lesson. And I think were about the happiest group of people right now, dont you think, guys? she asked her class. Yeah! the kids agreed in unison. For more information on The 6K Big Give, check out their blog at: http://6kgive.edublogs.org.

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