Parent-Teacher Organization rolls out kindness fundraiser

The Olney Parent-Teacher Organization briefed Olney Elementary School students and teachers on a new fundraising plan that reaps the rewards of students’ kindness and good deeds to make money.

PTO President Summer Branum introduced the OES to Raise Craze, an interactive fundraiser in which students spend two weeks doing and tracking individual and group Acts of Kindness (AOKs) and ask donors to “pay it forward” by collecting donations online via a secure, custom website.

“In other words, students spend time serving, not selling!” Mrs. Branum said in a letter to OES teachers. “We are so excited about our kids learning and doing something positive alongside our annual fundraiser.”

So instead of selling candy, wrapping paper or subscriptions, students will find ways to enrich the community, she said.

Students learned at a schoolwide assembly on Sept. 11 that they will register online, send emails to friends and family, and log all their acts of kindness. Parents will help their children register and report their activities, and students can earn prizes.

This year’s collectible prize will be a keychain/backpack tag with various charms to collect and trade. Students who raise $150 or more will be invited to a party on the playground with pizza and a bounce house, she said.

Homerooms who raise $600 collectively will receive a popcorn party, she said. Homerooms who complete 50 collective Acts of Kindness will participate in “Hats or Hugs for Kindness,” in which the entire class may bring a favorite stuffed animal or wear a hat to school for a day, she said.

The class who completes the most AOKs and the top earning class’s teacher will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card, she said.

The top homerooms will get to take a trip to the book vending machine for every student to select a book. But she saved the best prize for last: “If OES meets our schoolwide goal of one thousand AOKs, OES Principal Dr. Matt Caffey and Mrs. Mankins will spend one entire school day dressed in costumes voted on by students,” Mrs. Branum said. “If OES meets our schoolwide goal of $15,000, Dr. Caffey and Mrs. Mankins, Nurse Norris, Mrs. Gonzalez, and Mrs. Hoffman will dance with the cheerleaders in inflatable suits at a future pep rally!”

Local businesses, including Air Tractor, Brazos Communications, First State Bank, Hometown Coffee and Tea, Interbank, and Tower Fabrications are sponsoring and helping students complete an Act of Kindness for the community, with the AOKs to be completed during P.E. during the first week of the fundraiser, she said. Volunteers from the Olney Senior Cub Center will also help the students with projects, she said.

The school will keep a running total of the AOKs on a “kindness tree” in the hall, she said. Each day, the Kindness Tree will be updated with heart stickers for a visual representation of all the acts of kindness completed.

“We encourage you to come up with as many ways in the next couple of weeks to help encourage students to spread kindness,” she told the teachers.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to reach out to olneyelementarypto@