Tag Archives: Roosevelt Elementary

Mobile Dairy Classroom Visits Roosevelt Elementary

The Mobile Dairy Classroom made a stop at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School on Monday, September 12. Schoolchildren were able to pet a calf and learn about how cows provide milk.

The students were able to “learn firsthand about the role of agriculture in the food supply, how milk and dairy foods get from the farm to the table,” explained Carlos Gomez from the Dairy Council of California.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“The Dairy Council will come to a school every five years and we always take advantage of this wonderful opportunity for the students to learn about the cow and the contributions they make to providing good nutrition to us,” commented teacher Linda Walmsley, who’s coordinated the visit for many years.

“The educational learning lab teaches students enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade about cow anatomy, cow care on the farm, the milking process and agriculture technology,” added Gomez.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Language arts, math and science will be integrated into the lesson, which aligns with Common Core State Standards. Students will also learn about healthy food and activity choices.”

The Mobile Dairy Classroom reaches more than 453,000 students, with six full-time instructors who travel to elementary schools, agriculture days and fairs throughout California.

The assemblies are offered at no cost to schools and are part of dairy farm families’ and dairy companies’ efforts to give back to the community, explained Gomez. California dairies support the program by providing cows and calves for assemblies. 

Roosevelt Improv Students Debut At Flappers

Students from Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School will debut their improvisation skills at Flappers Comedy Club on Saturday, April 2, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Produced by improv teacher Steve Saracino, the Roosevelt Improv program features fourth- and fifth-graders – the Roosevelt Players – showcasing their quick-thinking skills.

“This Roosevelt Elementary program [is] a very progressive approach to the English Common Core strand of communication by Dr. Meg [Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre] and Tiffany Kaloustian [Curriculum Coordinator],” commented Saracino.

Roosevelt fifth-graders are set to perform at Flappers. (Photo Courtesy of Steve Saracino)

Roosevelt fifth-graders are set to perform at Flappers. (Photo Courtesy of Steve Saracino)

“Through improv, the students learn THE most important part of any conversation: listening. Since there is no scrjpt, it’s paramount that the student/actor uses their listening skills to create a scene that makes sense.”

“It’s not about being funny. Its about listening and responding appropriately,” he added.

In the time that Saracino retired as a full-time middle school science teacher from Burbank Unified, he has developed his own regular comedy/stand-up performances at Flappers. He continues to direct improv as part of the fourth- and fifth-grade GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program at Roosevelt Elementary, for the second year in a row.

“The very first exercise/handle we do is “Yes, and…” in which the actor takes what the other actor has said, then adds to it to advance the scene,” he explains.

Roosevelt fourth-graders are also excited to perform at Flappers. (Photo Courtesy of Steve Saracino)

Roosevelt fourth-graders are also excited to perform at Flappers. (Photo Courtesy of Steve Saracino)

“Other handles include ‘Hitchhikers With Emotions,’ ‘5-Headed Oracle,’ ‘Tell a Story,’ ‘Slide show,’ ‘Emotional Symphony,’ ‘What are You Doing?’ and ‘Freeze, Tag.’ In each, the underlying concept is to listen first, then respond.”

“Flappers is a very community oriented club, offering classes to both adults and kids alike in stand-up and improv,” said Saracino. “The owners, Barbara Holliday and David Reinitz, work hard to not only bring quality comedy to Burbank, but also educate those who want to try their hand at stand-up. I’ve been a comic there since September 2015.”

The show costs $10 at the door, but a discount for half-price tickets can be found here: http://bit.ly/22YhYn2.

“The kids are really excited,” he added.

Some sixth-grade alumni from the Roosevelt improv workshop are also expected to join in on the fun onstage.

Flappers is located at 102 E. Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.

FLAPPERS FLYER ROOSEVELT SHOW APRIL 2 2016 three

Roosevelt Elementary Celebrates Teddy’s Birthday With Teddy Bear Donation

Students and staff at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School celebrated both the 90th birthday of the Magnolia Park primary school and the 157th birthday of their namesake and the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, on Monday, October 26.

More than 200 new teddy bears were collected by Roosevelt’s students in Kindergarten through fifth grades and were donated to the Burbank Fire Department, whose members, according to BUSD Board of Education member Charlene Tabet, “promised to find good homes for them.”

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“It has been my honor to chair this event for over 15 years,” commented teacher Linda Walmsley. “Every year we have done something wonderful to celebrate our school and its namesake.”

“This year we have extended our celebration beyond our campus by collecting and donating teddy bears to needy children. Having the partnership of the Burbank Fire Department to help us achieve this goal gives me great joy.”

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In addition to Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre and officials from the Burbank Fire Department, the event was also attended by Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos and Councilmembers Will Rogers and Jess Talamantes along with Board of Education President Tabet and member Armond Aghakhanian. They also led the children in singing “Happy Birthday.”

Students and staff held a Teddy Bear Picnic on the grass field of Teddy Bear Park. Burbank Firefighters drove onto the hard top area with a ladder truck and engine to collect the donated teddy bears. While the goal was 90 teddy bears to celebrate the school’s 90th birthday, families from the school donated more than 200 for local needy children.

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

Roosevelt Elementary Students Attend An Evening At Hogwarts

Students from Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School turned out Friday evening, October 2, for “An Evening At Hogwarts.” Many dressed as favorite characters from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series and stepped into an elementary school transformed into the halls and grounds of Hogwarts Castle.

Students went on a scavenger hunt to find “horcruxes” as in the book series, made Marauder’s Maps, learned how to cast a magic charm to levitate balloon owls and played Quidditch in Teddy Bear Park under the tutelage of Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre, dressed as character Rolanda Hooch.

Dr. Jennifer Meglemre, Principal of Roosevelt Elementary, helps students get ready to play quidditch. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Dr. Jennifer Meglemre, Principal of Roosevelt Elementary, helps students get ready to play quidditch. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Organized by Meglemre, teacher Andrea Seale and parent Brent Geris, the event combined a fun evening of imagination with a small fundraiser.

Geris, owner of Studio City magic shop The Magic Apple, donated $5 from every sale of the newly-released, illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone book to the school. Approximately $350 was raised for Roosevelt from book and food sales.

Roosevelt Elementary students learn how to levitate their balloon owls during "An Evening At Hogwarts."  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Roosevelt Elementary students learn how to levitate their balloon owls during “An Evening At Hogwarts.” (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Youngsters tested their Harry Potter trivia knowledge, made a golden Snitch, found out their patronus, learned to make potions and received mandrake cupcakes. Students also learned how to care for magical creatures and defense against the dark arts.

Hogwarts/Roosevelt kids earned points for their respective houses along with chocolate frogs and prizes for themselves, in addition to a certificate at the end of the evening for completing all the activities.

 (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“We had a great turn out,” commented Meglemre. “I was busy down at the Quidditch field all night teaching kids to play Quidditch.”

The Evening At Hogwarts culminated with a costume contest in the Great Hall, otherwise known as the school auditorium. More than 25 students participated in the contest.

Four students received prizes for their costumes: Emelia DeOliveira dressed as Hedwig, Zoey Johnson as Luna Lovegood, Aidan Means as Quidditch-playing Harry and Scarlett McQuaide for Hermione. Warner Brothers donated Harry Potter T-shirts and hats for prizes.

Roosevelt Hula Club Celebrates Ohana With Final Performance

Roosevelt Elementary School’s Hula Club took its final bow on Thursday, April 2, with most of the school’s fifth-graders performing Hawaiian dance and  song in what had been an annual tradition for the past 13 years.

Current Roosevelt Curriculum Specialist Tiffany Kaloustian, who had been a fifth-grade teacher at the school, began the Hula Club her first year teaching, in 2002. Kaloustian, who was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, found her students were interested in learning more about her Hawaiian culture and background.

Roosevelt Elementary Curriculum Specialist and Hula Club director Tiffany Kaloustian and Juli Mahoney, a volunteer parent who helped coordinate much of the Hula Club efforts in 2014-15. (Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

Roosevelt Elementary Curriculum Specialist and Hula Club director Tiffany Kaloustian and Juli Mahoney, a parent volunteer who helped coordinate much of the Hula Club efforts in 2014-15. (Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

Kaloustian was inspired by her father, who passed away a few years ago, to begin the Hula Club and share the spirit of Ohana, a Hawaiian term for extended family both related by blood and created by intention. Kaloustian’s father even made the Volkswagen bus prop used in past programs.

Over the years the club has grown to encompass almost the entire fifth grade. In past performances, a giant volcano prop dominated the stage. This year’s luau included the requisite volcano as a smaller decoration and the students filled the stage.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“It has become a tradition, I guess, in fifth grade to be in the Hula Club – where the students also learn the value of making a difference and giving back to the community,” commented Kaloustian. “The past two years, we have made generous donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation through Lollipops for Love – started by Dylan Mahoney and Dylan Cook – and now is headed by our very own Roosevelt fifth-grader, Luke Mahoney.”

“All proceeds made from ticket sales will be going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation once again – in hopes that we can again grant two wishes – as we have traditionally done in years past. The Hula club also takes pride in being able to give back to our very own Roosevelt,” she added. “This year Dr. Meg [Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre] will utilize those funds to purchase instruments to add to our music program!”

(Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

(Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

The Roosevelt Hula Club performance “culminates, celebrates and honors all of our diverse backgrounds, not just the Hawaiian culture,” explained Kaloustian. “It celebrates our differences and that we are all uniquely special and how we ALL can make a difference in this world, showing how we are all connected as one Ohana.”

“This year would not have been complete without the Hula Club. For a brief moment, I considered not doing it because of my new position, but my heart is with the children – especially since I have watched so many of them grow since Kindergarten!” said Kaloustian, whose new duties as Curriculum Specialist for the school has taken her out of the fifth-grade classroom. “This is a momentous year, since my son is also in fifth grade, which made our performance extra special for me.”

(Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

(Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

Fifth-graders who signed up for the Hula Club in the fall of 2014 spent many lunch recesses over several months learning the songs, dances and dialogue for the program. Students also made fresh flower leis the day of the show with flowers flown in from Hawaii.

Roosevelt Hula Club members performed traditional Hawaiian dances and sang or chanted to “He Mele No Lilo,” “Uluwehi O Ke Kai” and “Ke Aloha,” in addition to “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” and “We Make A Rainbow.” Students also shared interesting facts about Hawaii and taught the audience some Hawaiian words.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“I am proud that we have raised money over the years for various organizations, including Burbank Temporary Aid and Shelter, Angels in Fur (animal rescue), Roosevelt’s Student Council, helping to aid three elementary classes in Kenya, supporting the efforts to help end child slavery, helping tsunami and earthquake victims across the country, giving to Roosevelt’s Music Program and helping to grant wishes through Lollipops for Love,” commented Kaloustian.

“The murals on the walls at Roosevelt were from former Hula Club shows. As I look back, I sit in awe at the vast ways the Hula Club has been able to give back to our school, to our community and around the world.”

(Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

(Photo Courtesy of Mina Ho Ferrante)

The 2015 Roosevelt Hula Club performance culminates the final run of the group Kaloustian has directed these past years.

“What a beautiful end to such an amazing ride,” she added. “Thank you to all the students, parents and families over the years for all of your love, support and dedication. I couldn’t have done this alone. I cherish all the memories with your children and hold them dear to my heart.”

Teddy Roosevelt Birthday Celebrated At Eponymous Elementary School

The entire school community of Roosevelt Elementary School gathered in Teddy Bear Park on Monday, October 27, to sing happy birthday and honor the school’s namesake and 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Mayor Dr. David Gordon led the students, teachers and parents in the Pledge of Allegiance as U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Edmundo A. Bendana was flag bearer and color guard. The John Burroughs High School marching band played the national anthem as the entire group of nearly one thousand people sang.

Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon (left) sings the national anthem as JBHS marching band plays and U.S. Army Sgt. Edmundo A. Bendana holds the flag. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon (left) listens to the JBHS marching band play the national anthem as U.S. Army Sgt. Edmundo A. Bendana holds the flag. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Board of Education members Dave Kemp and Ted Bunch, along with Dr. Tom Kissinger, Assistant Superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District, were also in attendance. Burroughs cheerleaders performed several spirited cheers for the students and the JBHS marching band played additional music.

Roosevelt Elementary Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre and teacher John Pike dressed as Teddy Roosevelt celebrate the birthday of school's namesake. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Roosevelt Elementary Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre and teacher John Pike dressed as Teddy Roosevelt celebrate the birthday of school’s namesake. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Roosevelt teacher John Pike dressed up as Teddy Roosevelt and many of the school’s nearly 600 students wore handlebar mustaches in honor of the 26th President’s iconic facial hair.

Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre sported a mustache-print skirt and several teachers dressed in cheerleading outfits in the school colors of blue and yellow.

Dr. Meglemre also highlighted that many of the students are learning instruments and she encouraged them to return to Roosevelt Elementary in a few years as members of the JBHS marching band.

After the program, parents and students gathered for a school-wide picnic, complete with a live DJ, conga lines, a dance party and free play recess time for the youngsters.

Roosevelt Elementary School opened in Magnolia Park with four classrooms in 1926. The school highlights its namesake in a variety of ways, including the before- and after- school child care (Rough Riders), the school’s mascot (teddy bear) and the school’s expansive playground and grass field (Teddy Bear Park.)

Every year, the Teddy Roosevelt birthday party is celebrated with a program and a family picnic. The school will mark its 90-year anniversary in 2016.

Roosevelt Elementary School teachers Roxanne Hunt, Pamela Nichols, Rhonda Wright, Tiffany Kaloustian, Chez Mohler and Ellen Craig pump up the school spirit for Roosevelt's birthday.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Roosevelt Elementary School teachers Roxanne Hunt, Pamela Nichols, Rhonda Wright, Tiffany Kaloustian, Chez Mohler and Ellen Craig pump up the school spirit for Roosevelt’s birthday.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

 

 

Roosevelt Elementary Choir & Fourth Grade Welcome Holidays With Song

The Roosevelt Choir and the Fourth Grade Class presented their annual holiday show on the morning of Thursday, December 19, in the school auditorium. Conducted by John Pike and Sheryl Hambro, the Roosevelt Choir combines about 85 fourth and fifth graders and meets weekly before school to practice.

John Pike and Sheryl Hambro direct the Roosevelt Choir as accompanist Sue Baker provides the music. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

John Pike and Sheryl Hambro direct the Roosevelt Choir as accompanist Sue Baker provides the music. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The choir performed six Holiday themed songs, including the Spanish-language “Dale Dale Dale” and the popular “Carol of the Bells.” Volunteer Sue Baker accompanied the choir on the piano, as she does at the regular weekly practices.

About 100 children in the fourth grade followed the Roosevelt Choir with their yearly Holiday Show, performing three songs, including “December Nights,” “Sleigh Ride” and the Elvis Presley favorite “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.” Conducted by Carol Walcoff, the children dressed in a 1950s style and featured some special cameos at the end of the program. Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre wished all the families happy holidays and congratulated the children and their teachers on presenting a fun program.

 

Roosevelt Family Garden Prepares For Reboot, Partners With Quenelle

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

In the year since the creation of an edible, school garden at Roosevelt Elementary, lots of sweat and work by adult volunteers and students alike have produced several harvests and many opportunities for students to learn about growing food. Most recently, a large batch of tomatoes were picked and shared with newly-opened local bakery and sweet shop, Quenelle. Organized and managed by Roosevelt mother Kristen Jennings, the Roosevelt Family Garden has been a catalyst for bringing members of all ages in the Burbank community together. Prinicipal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre’s enthusiasm for the project and continual support has helped the Garden gain momentum.

Volunteers work in the Roosevelt Family Garden. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

Volunteers work in the Roosevelt Family Garden. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

The garden relies upon community donations, the Roosevelt PTA, the school Hula Club and individual parents for supplies and funding and volunteer muscle for the gardening. California Pizza Kitchen was one of the first local businesses to donate start up funds, and with added resources for compost and lumber, a group of parent and child volunteers cleared space at Roosevelt last fall, installed a watering system, hauled materials and built beds along Avon Street behind the school.

Once the garden was set up in October 2012, the Family Garden had enough funding to support lunch clubs for hundreds of students on a biweekly basis. During their lunchtimes, students created seed balls, learned about bugs and composting systems, made flower pots with recycled materials and heard from guest speakers. Classrooms also visited the garden with their teachers for lessons.

Students make seed balls at lunch club. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

Students make seed balls at lunch club. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

Roosevelt’s Student Council held a poster contest with students in grades 1-5 and the artwork will be displayed this coming school year on a quilt-style banner in the garden. There are a few other signs throughout the garden to thank local sponsors who donated important items, such as an irrigation system from The Sprinkler Guy and a large storage shed from Community Chevrolet.

Over the summer, volunteers weeded and watered the sunflowers and tomatoes. The tomatoes produced a bumper crop, which left garden volunteers thinking about ideas for using the food grown at the school.

Mrs. Jennings explains how Quenelle caught her eye, “I saw that not only was the chef offering ice cream, sorbets and sweet treats, but also savory offerings like bacon cheddar scones. I thought Quenelle’s unique menu and the crops from the Roosevelt Garden would be a perfect partnership, as well as a way to draw attention to healthier treats available to kids and their families in the community. After proposing that idea to John Park, the restaurant’s owner and chef, he immediately suggested some additional menu items and side dishes we could create.”

Jay Jennings picks tomatoes in 100 degree temps. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

Jay Jennings picks tomatoes in 100 degree temps. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

My husband suggested we make our own healthy popsicles from an overflow of garden crops. I thought about Quenelle’s menu — why not go for hibiscus watermelon, orange greek yogurt or jack fruit pineapple treats instead of frozen yogurt or ice cream from the abundance of chain restaurants in the area?” continues Ms. Jennings.

“And even better, how great it would be for the Roosevelt kids to grow the ingredients in their garden and see healthy choices all come together? My husband took the day off from work and we harvested two large bags of tomatoes grown in the school garden and delivered them to Quenelle – 25lbs in all! We left many on the vines for the kids to pick during a future lunch club with their teachers when the weather was not in the triple digits and school was in full swing.”

Fresh tomatoes delivered to Quenelle await John Park's handiwork. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

Fresh tomatoes delivered to Quenelle await John Park’s handiwork. (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Jennings)

Burbank’s California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) has also expressed interest in using the student-grown herbs in their pizzas. CPK’s manager visited the Roosevelt Family Garden in the previous school year, with pizzas and coupons for the kids, and read stories related to healthy eating and composting. CPK also donated earthworms and a worm bin to help the plants thrive with important nutrients from worm castings.

Roosevelt Family Garden will hold a garden reboot meeting on Saturday, September 28, at the school. Dr. Meglemre will join the garden volunteers and they will talk with parents, teachers and students about what they’d like to plant for the new growing season and build a “Green Team” to keep ideas fresh for the edible schoolyard. Last year, the garden harvested and enjoyed radishes, carrots, tomatoes, lima beans, lettuces, herbs and flowers.

Tomato pesto butter goes great with warm scones from Quenelle. (Photo Courtesy of Erin Kelly)

Tomato pesto butter goes great with warm scones from Quenelle. (Photo Courtesy of Erin Kelly)

“We will create the space for each grade to visit and learn the benefits a garden brings to our environment, community and school,” Ms. Jennings anticipates. “Our team will share skills – we don’t all have green thumbs (yet!) – transplant older plants into pots and get the soil ready. Lunchtime activities will revolve around holiday themes, our Fall Festival, Earth Day, and much more.”

Quenelle, at 2214 W. Magnolia, is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. While sweets and bakery items are always available, Chef Park has made limited quantities of the fresh tomato pesto butter.

Sun shades and a new hose have been purchased already for the upcoming year at the edible school garden. The Roosevelt Family Garden hopes to add a picnic table with umbrella, rakes, trowels, watering cans, gloves, pots, plants, seeds and more instructional materials.

 

Roosevelt Teacher Motivates Class for Make-A-Wish Fundraising

Tiffany Kaloustian, who was recently honored as one of the Teacher’s of the Year, would like readers to hear the story of Dylan  Mahoney and Dylan Cook who are the students who began the mission of  Lollipops for Love … resulting in the amazing donation of nearly $6,000 to be presented to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

An assembly was recently held at Roosevelt Elementary School that was attended by the Mayor of Burbank as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s president and CEO of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

By Tiffany Kaloustian

After adopting the theme of “Making a Difference” in my 5th grade class, Dylan Mahoney and Dylan Cook began this fundraising effort in the hopes of making a difference in their community.  Throughout this entire process, they have expressed their hopes that one day, when this particular fundraising effort came to a end, they would be able to not only thank all who were involved, but to share with other children and adults of Burbank (and the world, if they had the forum to do it) the importance of volunteering in their community and making a difference for others.  They have always wanted to share their own experiences with others, and remind people of all the wonderful local organizations that are trying their best to help others every day.  Dylan Mahoney and Dylan Cook realize that these organizations do not have the resources to do it on their own, and that is where people like us come in.  These organizations cannot survive without the help of volunteers – whether it be hands on, financially, or otherwise.  Dylan M. and Dylan C. want the world to know how wonderful it is volunteering and to inspire others to follow in their footsteps!

I want to share with you the story of Lollipops for Love from the beginning… 

“Lollipops for Love” was created by Dylan Mahoney and Dylan Cook (aka “the Dylan’s”).  As I mentioned in the above paragraph… for the 5th graders, this year’s theme is to “Make A Difference,” and they took it upon themselves to meet that challenge!  It was during a lunch recess one day last October that Dylan M. and Dylan C. decided they wanted to sell lollipops to raise money to help sick children.  That very afternoon, Lollipops for Love was born!  It was determined they would sell Dum Dum lollipops for 25 cents each with all the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.  I, of course encouraged this feat and with the approval of our school’s principal, Dr. Meglemre, these boys enlisted the entire 5th grade class to become a part of something bigger than themselves and join in this quest. 

 Our first attempt at selling lollipops came during Roosevelt Elementary’s Fall Festival in late October.  Low and behold, 5th grade kids walked around school grounds, clad with sandwich boards asking people to “buy something sweet for yourself, DO something sweet for someone else!” and “Make a difference, make a wish come true!”  By night’s end, these children raised close to $400 – on 25 cent lollipops!  Shortly thereafter, I contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation and teamed up with a wonderful employee by the name of Ashley who was more than excited about our fundraising endeavor. 

 Next I thought …  “What if we work to raise enough money to adopt one child’s wish?!“ $2500 would be the goal we set for ourselves – the funds needed to grant a specific child’s wish!! Ashley met with our 5th graders and told them what an amazing job they had already done (we were the top fundraising school in all of Los Angeles, and we had only just begun.)  Ashley informed us that we would be able to adopt a specific wish and that we would be able to get a bio of the child we adopted by the end of the year before our 5th graders graduate so that we could bring this journey full circle and the children would be able to see the fruits of their labor!

 Soon after, the motto became “Making A Difference, One Lollipop at a Time” and the sales became personal efforts.  Children from not only 5th grade, but several 3rd graders as well, took it upon themselves to sell lollipops on their own time to family and friends.  The Dylan’s, along with Dylan M.’s younger brother Luke, and cousin, Olivia, worked for 3 hours during the walk on Toluca Lake in December- collecting hundreds of dollars in donations and lollipop sales.  Next came our Variety show.  Again, all weekend (and through the following week), the Dylan’s, Luke and 5th grade volunteers, sold Valentine candy grams to audience members of the show and students of the school – bringing them closer to their goal with each sale.  The fundraising chart continued to grow, as did the children’s excitement and dedication to this cause. 

 Lollipops for Love sparked a school wide effort to reach their goal of granting a child’s wish.  Children were selling lollipops to family and friends, donating their allowances, asking for donations to Make-A-Wish in lieu of birthday gifts, selling mustaches, running lemonade stands on the weekends – all to help bring Lollipops for Love that much closer to helping a sick child’s wish come true! My Hula Club show graciously donated all its proceeds to Lollipops for Love, as did Mrs. Wills’ “Change Squared” fundraiser… asking people to donate and “make a wish for a wish!”  From two boys asking themselves “what if” came the birth of a fundraiser that turned into something more than just selling lollipops – it brought an entire school together! 

 By the end of March, these kids had not only raised their original goal of $2500, but almost doubled it!  Their hard work and dedication raised $4000 on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation! Dylan M. next contacted the Spangler Candy Co. in Ohio, the distributors of Dum Dum lollipops and shared his excitement over their success with selling Dum Dum lollipops.  He expressed his desire to have the Spangler Candy Co. join forces with Lollipops for Love and be a part of something special.  They were so touched by Dylan’s enthusiasm, they agreed! A $1,000 donation by the Spangler Candy Co. put us at $5,000 and with it, two wishes could now be granted – thanks to Lollipops for Love and its partners!  Our newest grand total raised is $5,781.17!!  Since then, Dylan M. has written (through me) to the Ellen show,  is currently writing to various online shows and  doing whatever he can to get the word out that kids can make a difference if they try! 

 When our wonderful contact (Ashley) had moved on from Make-A-Wish LA to teach children in Africa, we joined forces with two new contacts, Development Associate, Deborah Herman and Dimitri Czupylo, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications. They were so impressed with Dylan M., they inquired about the Dylan’s coming to speak at their annual Board Retreat in May to discuss their experience with Kids For Wish Kids (the name of their fundraising program.) 

 Through it all, the Dylan’s have always been passionate about having an assembly with news coverage (or any media source) in hopes their story of teamwork and dedication to Making A Difference, would inspire other kids to follow suit.

 In light of these troubled times, when spirits and moral are low, a story of an elementary  school community coming together for an honorable cause is exactly what the world needs to hear!  The world needs to know, in these times of doubt and uncertainty, our children are coming together in unity to make this world a better place! These boys and the whole school have inspired me, as their teacher.. in  more ways than I could ever express…

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