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The City Journals

Pennies for Patients program to teach students at Bennion Elementary

Feb 10, 2020 03:15PM ● By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Bennion Elementary Student Ambassador Leadership Team members holding their Pennies for Patients donation boxes. (Photo by Yamira Jolley)

By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones| [email protected]

When the Leukemia Lymphoma Society approached Bennion Elementary this past October to do a student fundraiser with their Pennies for Patients program, sixth grade teacher Yamira Jolley, along with her Student Ambassador Leadership Team, jumped in with both feet.

“This year, we decided to ‘share the love’ and donate our resources to members of the community who are truly in need,” Jolley said. 

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society a leader in “pioneering research for blood cancers and other cancers as well, exists to create a world without blood cancers today,” as stated on lls.org/Utah. They “are unlocking the cure for all cancers tomorrow.”

And Jolley and her SALT team want to be a part of that.

“The process will begin when each student receives a small box to collect pennies in,” Jolley said, though according to the LLS, “all forms of currency are accepted” (penniesforpatients.org). Each student will keep the small box on his or her desk, and as he or she brings in change from home, this change will be collected and sent to the office. Parents can donate online. As the “school meets various collection goals, students will be allowed to participate in fun activities such as hat day, lunch with teachers and extra technology time on our school website’s ‘Tech Links,’” Jolley said. 

“We hope that the students will see that as a TEAM we are making a positive impact on our community,” Jolley said.

The theme, “Every Hero Needs a Squad,” part of the Pennies for Patients program developed by the LLS, “ensures that no child has to take on cancer alone. Heroes need educators, parents and students in their squad to overcome cancer and live healthier lives.” 

The money gathered is used for “groundbreaking cancer research, patient education and support services, and advocacy efforts aimed at making treatments more accessible and affordable for families” (penniesforpatients.org). In a nutshell, the LLS “teaches students that even a small contribution can make a big impact when we all work together as a team (lls.org/utah).”

And that’s what Jolley and her SALT Team want.

“The school’s theme this year is ‘TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More, so it’s a perfect fit!’” Jolley said. “Traditionally, our SALT team kids have invited the student body at Bennion Elementary and their parents to send Love Grams with little treats for Valentine’s Day.” 

But this school year, Bennion teachers wants to do more.

“We are hoping to combine the (LLS program) with ‘Bend the Rules’ instead of doing Love Grams because there were some concerns with both projects in the past that we are trying to tweak,” she said.

Jolley said access to the STEM curriculum through the LLS is an additional plus because it engages students and opens their eyes to future careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Connecting service to others with what a student may choose to do in their future life is a big help.

 “I think helping our students make a more personal connection through this fundraising effort can spark some interest in this career path,” she said. 

There will be a training assembly by the LLS on Jan. 30 when “stories of actual patients who have been helped” will be shared. There will also be an explanation of how the fundraising will work. Jolley has high hopes that her teams' fundraising project held between Feb. 3 and 13, will be a success.