Little coins, a bold vision

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 6:00pm

There were piles of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters on two tables, with a few mysterious coins mixed in. The one getting the most attention was an Eisenhower dollar coin from 1972. There was a tiny one cent coin from another unknown country, and a wheatback penny from 1958.

However different these coins may be, they are going to the same place: Into rolls to once again raise funds for the Pennies for Patients program. Mrs. Hart’s kindergarten class has been participating in the fundraising for the past 14 years.

On Tuesday, March 10, the coins were piled onto two separate tables. Before the students sat at the tables, Mrs. Hart had each student put on a pair of gloves (a new precaution this year) and then they sat.

“The first job is to group the pennies, nickels and dimes. Make piles of those, please,” said Mrs. Hart.

Pennies for Patients has, for the past 70 years, raised funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “Since then, we’ve invested more than $1.3 billion in blood cancer research, helped spark the immunotherapy revolution and become the leading source of free blood cancer information, education and support services,” according to a letter issued by the Society. “[T]here is more to be done to develop cures and improve care for our children. We’re disrupting the status quo with our bold vision for young patients — to not only survive their cancer, but to thrive in their lives after treatment.”

The letter also stated, “The overwhelming majority of administrators, teachers and parents believe that social and emotional learning is just as important academic training. This year, Pennies for Patients is proud to have incorporated key tenants of the SEL framework into our fundraising program...”

As her students focused on the coins just a few feet away, Mrs. Hart said that the activity “really lends itself to the idea of caring and helping.”

Over the past decade and a half, Block Island kindergartners have raised about $15,000. Pennies (and other coins and legal tender) can be dropped off at the Block Island School throughout the month.

The students in Mrs. Hart’s class are: Aria Quackenbush, Ryker Coffen, Jayda Hall, Shevauhn Swanson, Everly Stewart, Iker Donis, Pearl Cassady, Lily Breunig, Grady Redd, Willa Petrik, and Corbin Nelson.