Apr. 10—HIGH POINT — Westchester Country Day School will donate $1,000 each to five charities selected by students as a result of a schoolwide change drive.
Change for Change is an annual project that inspires students in grades pre-K through 12 to collect loose change for the purpose of making a positive impact in service-minded organizations. Change was collected throughout March and the total was announced during a virtual assembly.
Westchester students collected more than 4,000 quarters, 4,500 dimes, 2,800 nickels and 10,000 pennies, along with $1,354 in dollar bills and coins, for a total of $3,876. Coins were still coming in at the time of the assembly, and the school rounded up to commit $1,000 to five organizations.
This year's project began in February when students researched causes and wrote nominations on behalf of the organizations they wanted to support. Eight nominating groups gave speeches during a virtual assembly, and then students voted for the five recipients.
This year's student-nominated charities included both local and national organizations. The Miracle League of High Point, Beds for Babes — City Lights Ministry in Winston-Salem, ASPCA, The Trevor Project and Thurgood Marshall College Fund each will receive a $1,000 donation. Blair Hawley, head of the Lower School at Westchester, said he hopes the organizations will be impacted positively by the students' donations.
"This project teaches students that by giving just a little, collectively it can add up to a lot," Hawley said. "All of our students can donate change, whether it is from their piggy bank, doing chores at home, cleaning out what is lying around in a car or asking relatives if they would be willing to donate. They learn the value in philanthropy and giving with a happy heart while raising awareness about needs in our local, national and international communities."
Change for Change is a part of Westchester's CARES Crews program, which gets younger and older students working together multiple times a year on projects that show compassion, awareness, responsibility, empathy and service to others. It connects character and service with classroom subjects such as math, social studies and language arts.
Typically, Westchester students gather in the school's gymnasium and spread the change out on the floor to count it together in groups. This year, due to the pandemic, the change was counted daily by grade levels and the total was announced in a virtual assembly broadcast to classrooms.