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Fun and Philanthropy at Crane Country Day School ‘Care Fair’

Jump in a bounce house, throw rings around lollipops and win prizes while helping seven local charities at the Crane Country Day School “Care Fair” from 3 to 4:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 on the school’s open field.

“It’s a fun and easy way to help charities,” said Grace Johnson, a seventh-grade student at Crane who developed the Care Fair concept with classmates Isabel Gonzalez, Shelagh Morphy and Arin Pieramici.

“We wanted to find a way to help many charities and to make it fun,” said Isabel, adding that the girls brainstormed the idea as part of their service learning class.

The service learning curriculum at Crane requires each Upper School class (grades 6 to 8) to select charities to service throughout the course of the year. Students propose ideas for service projects to their classmates, and through discussion, the entire class comes to a consensus as to which project or projects they wish to undertake during the semester. There were nine ideas proposed by the seventh-graders, and they figured out a way to help three nonprofits. The fair was then created by the four girls as a way to help the other nonprofits that did not get chosen.

“These girls weren’t happy with helping just three charities and wanted to find a way to benefit more,” said Janey Cohen, Crane’s service learning teacher. “I thought that the idea was brilliant and was thrilled that the students came up with the concept on their own.”

Charities participating include CARE 4 Paws, BUNS, the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Eyes in the Sky, CALM, All 4 Animals and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. The seventh-grade class has developed a passport-style page so that families have to visit each nonprofit’s booth to get a stamp, which then entitles them to receive a free cupcake. CARE 4 Paws and BUNS are bringing animals as an added attraction. There will be games, face painting, home-baked goods and a bounce house donated by Luna Jumps.

“We are honored to be a part of the Fair,” said Ashlyn Clark, CALM development associate. “It’s very inspiring to see young people care about those in our community who are the most vulnerable — other young children.”

In addition to learning about philanthropy, the girls are getting hands-on marketing experience, dividing up the tasks to promote the Care Fair. Shelagh is designing a poster and newsletter ad, Isabel has created a Care Fair Instagram account, Arin is developing signs and the passport booklets, and Grace is overseeing the food and bake sale. The girls meet during study hall and recess to work on the fair. The entire seventh-grade class will work the booths and help set-up.

“It’s always an honor to work with the students at Crane,” said Becca Solodon, program and event coordinator for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. “They have done a tremendous amount to help our TBCF families over the past several years.”

A suggested minimum donation of $10 per child enables kids to receive a wristband that entitles them to participate in all games and activities. Proceeds from the event will then be evenly distributed among all the charities. Every dollar spent is worth double thanks to a generous donor who is willing to match funds raised. The fun and philanthropic event is open to the entire community.

For more information, call Cohen at 805.969.7732.

— Ann Pieramici represents Crane Country Day School.

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