Pine Grove Elementary pays it forward
PARKER – Just one week after Pine Grove Elementary (PGE) students were caravanned safely back home after the flood scare in Estes Park, they decided to give back to the communities more severely affected.
PGE sixth-graders were on a field trip to the YMCA of the Rockies when the storm hit, cutting them off when roads were washed out. During a brief window where the rain let up, DCSD and DCSO officials were able to drive to the location via Trail Ridge Road, retrieve the students and staff, and take them safely back to Pine Grove.
Lily Emlong, Anna Gibowicz, and Reese Fredericksen were among those on the field trip, and are truly committed to the fundraiser.
“On my way home after the buses drove us back, my mom told me that what we had been through was bad, but once I saw the news it seemed like it was nothing compared to what happened everywhere else,” Reese recalled. “So immediately I thought we should do something for them.”
That’s where PGE choir teacher Leah Lehrburger, who was one of the chaperones on the field trip, came up with an idea. The PGE choir sang the national anthem at the Rockies game on September 21, and two dollars of each ticket sold for that game was originally designated to go directly to PGE. Lehrburger pitched the idea to her students to donate that money to the Red Cross Mile High Chapter to benefit flood victims.
“This was a way to get the rest of the community involved, [those who] were not up there with us but were still impacted,” Lehrburger explained.
Stemming from that generosity, the 6th graders decided to further the cause and ignite ‘Change for a Change,’ to collect spare change for the Red Cross Mile High Chapter. Two donation boxes are set up in PGE’s front office: one for students and one for parents.
“The students at Pine Grove have huge hearts,” Lehrburger said. “It’s been very touching to see all the levels of students and the whole community come together. I mean, even kindergartners have been coming up, bringing their little baggies full of change and putting them in the box.”
Lily, Anna, and Reese have been especially devoted to the cause, coming in early to school and staying late to collect change in the parent drop off and pick up zones.
Anna beamed as she described the experience.
“It’s really fun because when me and Lily were counting the money the other day, every five dollars we collected we would freak out and say ‘Oh my gosh this is another five dollars!’ Every penny we get is so exciting because it’s so awesome to know that you’re giving back to a good cause.”
So far, donations total almost $1,800. Collections will continue until September 27.
“It’s cool to have a cause that a lot of other people have gotten behind,” said Lehrburger. “The fact that our school community has tripled the amount we received from the Rockies game in such a short amount of time is pretty amazing.”
To donate and find more information about PGE’s Pay it Forward cause, follow this link to visit the school’s website. You can also email Lori Anne Emlong or Leah Lehrburger.