Spare change needed for the 'Big Change Roundup'

CHAMPLAIN - If you see people dressed like bank robbers roaming the halls at schools in the Northeastern Clinton Central School District, don't be alarmed.

Students throughout the school district are taking part in the Big Change Roundup for Kids, a fundraiser sponsored by WOKO 98.9 FM and Wal-Mart to benefit the Vermont Children's Hospital in Burlington, Vt. The project involves participants, sometimes wearing red bandanas, being "change bandits," asking people to give their spare change to help the hospital.

Middle school social studies teacher Melody Trombley initiated the school district's participation in the event three years ago, and said she has seen students embrace the project year after year. This year, Trombley arranged for the district's Little Buddies, Big Buddies program, a community-oriented peer mentoring partnership for students, to play an active role in the fundraising effort.

"It seemed like a natural thing for them to do for the community," said Trombley. "We have students past who have used the hospital, we have students present who use it and who knows what the future will hold? It's just a good cause."

Tanner Jubert, a member of the high school's junior class, agrees. Jubert is among those collecting donations, however, for him, the cause is a little more personal than for most.

When he was only 2 years old, Jubert was diagnosed with leukemia, and until the time he was 6 years old, he received treatment at Vermont Children's Hospital.

"I didn't really know what was going on but my mom said I had to go six times a week," he said.

Now a teenager free of leukemia 11 years, Jubert said he doesn't remember much of his treatments, but believes he wouldn't be here today if not for the Vermont Children's Hospital.

"This is really a good cause. I'm sure [the hospital] helped me and helped my parents out a lot. And, I'm sure it will help more kids out," Tanner said.

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