Cartersville Elementary students help Share a Smile
by Mark Andrews
Apr 02, 2014 | 1360 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joined by a common bond, the Cartersville Elementary School club Share a Smile is working to raise money through school fundraisers to help combat cancer. With each member having a family member affected by the illness, the club is working toward donating about $600 to the American Cancer Society.

“Seven girls approached me at the beginning of the school year wanting to do something, [saying] that they had formed Share a Smile and they wanted to be able to raise money for cancer because they either have a family member who was diagnosed with cancer, or lost a family member to cancer,” CES Counselor Elaine Hite said. “At the beginning of the school year our school nurse [Sandy Morrison] actually passed away from cancer and that was very touching to them and they wanted to do something to help.”

To raise money, the members of Share a Smile — Maggie Hewlett, Mary Knox Dawson, Kate Hacker, Molly Moore, Isabel Tucker, Jenny Crum and Charlie Peters — provide opportunities for teachers and students to donate, but with additional incentive.

“We talked about a one-time fundraiser that they could do and they did a hat day here at school, so they hung posters up everywhere, they did announcements, they did what I call ‘robo calls’ ... out to all our students to tell them about hat day and they raised between $300 and $315,” Hite said, adding the club has a friendly bet with principal Ken MacKenzie they could double the amount raised. “... We decided to do the week before spring break a jean week for staff, so the staff can wear jeans if they pay $5, and they’re also going to do another hat day this Friday as well.

“This was completely and totally their idea.”

Thus far, Hite said, the club has raised about $200 through the school’s jean week for teachers.

“These young ladies basically did all of this on their own and that’s kind of why I’m so blown away from this. They just wanted to do something good, to be able to give back,” Hite said. “They rotate the duties ... so that everybody gets to take a turn being president, vice president, the treasurer [and] the secretary.

“They meet at recess on the playground and they kind of plan out what they’re going to do and when they’re going to do it. They come up with questions about different things and they bring those to me and I try to get those answered for them.”

Hewlett, who currently serves as the club’s president, explained her role with Share a Smile and talked about what the club has been doing this week.

“[On Monday] we made posters and we went around hanging them up around the school and I was kind of telling [club members] where to put them up and just discussing what fundraisers we could do and different things,” Hewlett said.

She said the group came to fruition one day during recess.

“[Other club members] came up to me and were like ‘let’s do a club or something’ ... [and] we could get together at recess or something. We didn’t really know what kind of club we wanted to do and then we were like ‘let’s do it for cancer,’” Hewlett said.

Both Crum and Hacker shared personal stories on how cancer has affected the lives of people close to them.

“My aunt, she had got diagnosed with leukemia and then she was free of it for about three to six months and then she got it again, but now she is free of it,” Crum said. “My grandmother, she died from pancreatic cancer and so I just really wanted to do something about it and it was really just sad for me and I know it’s sad for everybody else in the group who has had a family member who does have cancer.”

Hacker added, “My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and after the surgery whenever she was recovering it was hard to see her so sad. She would take this pill that would make her sleep all the time and it would scare me. So, I wanted to help everyone who’s gone through that with different types of cancer ... and I relate with Jenny about how she was scared and sad and wanted to make a change.”

Through their experiences, club members said they have been able to stay positive because their efforts will make a difference in the lives of others.

“We know that we have helped. We know that we have done something to help [those affected by cancer],” Crum said.

The club also is learning about ways to garner attention for its cause outside of school by creating a website, which can be found at sites.google.com/site/girlsandboyskickincancer2131/home. For more information on the club, call Hite at CES, 678-535-6139.