PWLMS students raise $1,350 for Ronald McDonald House |

PWLMS students raise $1,350 for Ronald McDonald House

by Merrie Leininger

Students at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School recently raised over $1,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in Reno just by exchanging their change.

Caitlin Poley, Chelsea Suschena, Katie Gorrindo, Ashley Arneson of Rommy Cronin’s 8th grade leadership class were on the community service committee who decided to raise money for a local organization.

“We were trying to decide on what charity we could donate to. We really felt we should do something that was local,” Suschena said.

She said she thought of the Ronald McDonald house because in elementary school her class had taken a tour of the building.

Mary O’Brien, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House in Reno said she was surprised to hear from the girls.

“One of the students called me. A lot of public groups donate money, but not many student groups,” she said. “The one who called me was so soft-spoken on the phone, I don’t know how they made it. I understand four kids did all the work.”

The Ronald McDonald House relies solely on donations and public support.

She said school groups regularly donate food, but it is rare for students to raise any money for the organization.

The Ronald McDonald House offers shelter for families who have to go out of town to get medical attention for their child.

“If a family from this area finds themselves at Washoe Med. or St. Mary’s, they can stay with us,” she said.

Sometimes they also help pay for local families from this area who have to go out-of-state to get medical attention.

“Right now we have a little handicapped boy who needs lots of surgeries and we just paid for his flight down to Arizona,” she said.

They also provide grants to other organizations who help children.

Cronin said the students did all the work. They came up with the logo, “exchange your change.” They got five-gallon water jugs from Sierra Pacific donated. Each classroom got a jug and were encouraged to put their spare change into the jug in their first period classroom.

The girls said they spent three weeks raising the money and teachers helped by giving incentives such as homework passes or donuts to students who donated the most money.

The girls said Carson Valley Inn and Sharkey’s helped them count the change.

“We counted change for a month. I never want to see another penny again,” Chelsea said.

She said the group didn’t expect to raise so much money.

“We expected a couple of hundred, we couldn’t believe we raised so much,” Chelsea said.

The final tally was $1,350.

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