Veritas Academy hosts annual Serve-a-Thon

Kindergarteners and seniors alike fanned across the Lancaster County community in April for the annual Veritas Academy Serve-a-Thon.

To raise money, students asked friends and family to sponsor them for the event during which they volunteered to help local residents and organizations.

When they were done, the students had raised $34,000 in the school’s only fundraiser and given countless hours to Lancaster County.

“As a new student, I can easily say that this has been my best experience at Veritas Academy,” Bethany Kao said in a news release. “In addition to providing students with an opportunity to make a difference in the community, Serve-a-Thon allows them to invest in others’ lives.

“Volunteering with Water Street Ministries (Wonder Club) allowed us to spend quality time and bring positive influence to preschoolers who may often lack attention,” Bethany continued. “The one-on-one interaction helped us direct positive, specialized, attention to our ‘buddy.’ This opportunity to serve inspired me to continue to find opportunities to serve others, especially children, in my community.”

Students in kindergarten through fourth grades cleaned local parks by picking up sticks and trash, readying recreational areas for the spring and summer seasons. Fifth and sixth grades served at Christ’s Home for Children in Paradise, prepping flower beds and a vegetable garden, cleaning passenger vans, and picking up sticks and filling holes around campus. First through sixth graders also wrote notes of encouragement to Veritas alumni who serve in the armed forces.

Other students served at Friendship Community, a ministry for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. Additionally, the upper school choir and orchestra students performed for residents of Garden Spot Village in New Holland.

Student Grace Martin was part of the group that served at Susquehanna Pregnancy Services in Columbia, helping to pack and load boxes in preparation for the organization’s move to a different building.

“Normally the process would have been a long one, but with many hands there to help, we got it done much more quickly,” Grace noted. “The ladies that worked there were very thankful and appreciative, and I was blessed to have been able to serve women who so unselfishly give their time to help others on a daily basis.”

Kraybill Mennonite

visits Juniper Village

Returning for their second annual field trip, Kraybill Mennonite School students recently visited with Mount Joy’s Juniper Village residents.

Twenty-one kindergarten students paired up with residents to read their favorite books. The students then took to the stage to act out stories and share songs. Residents of the long-term care community and kindergarteners also had time to talk with and learn about one another.

Cocalico’s Spanish Club

helps families in need

The Spanish Club at Cocalico High School, under the direction of Laura Stehr, participated in a community service project for families in the community. The students assembled quesadilla kits, which included a recipe and all the ingredients needed to make the meal. These kits were then distributed to 30 families in the area in need of food.

“Students in Spanish club benefit from participating in this service project while the families in need benefit from receiving the meals, so it’s truly a win-win,’’ Stehr said in a news release.

“Students learn about the cost of groceries, how to create a recipe, the value of team work, and the importance of helping others in the community. The families are always very surprised and appreciative when they receive their meals.”

Weaver Markets, Redner’s Warehouse Markets and Weis Markets donated to this project; home school visitor Paula Fleming delivered the meals.

George Smith middle schoolers

raise $20,000 to fight cancer

For the third year, George A. Smith Middle School in the Solanco School District held its Pennies for Patients lock-in. Hundreds of students and faculty from the school came together to fight blood cancer through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Smith wellness and fitness teacher Carrie Falduts has taken the lead on the school’s campaign. Falduts has guided the school’s impact by increasing fundraising totals from $10,000 in 2016 to $20,821 this year.

This year’s event, held March 29 and into March 30, featured a luau theme. Overnight activities featured a disc jockey and dancing, a lip-sync contest, an obstacle course, relay races and a variety of games.

Teachers, dressed up in costumes ranging from a Ninja Turtle to a bearded lady to Batman, participated in a “Masked Singer” competition. The event ended with a pancake-and-bacon breakfast donated by IHOP on Lincoln Highway East.

“I love working with George A. Smith; the students and staff are beyond inspiring and supportive of one another,’’ LLS Pennies for Patients Campaign manager Chelsey Hall said in a news release.

The students have raised a total of $44,000 for LLS over the last three years.

Cornhole for a Cause raises

funds for McCaskey grads

Willow Valley Communities raised more than $8,000 for School District of Lancaster high school students through its Cornhole for a Cause event May 4. The money raised will help graduating seniors pay application fees and expenses associated with post-secondary education or for items needed to start a new job.

This is the third event of its kind for Willow Valley. To date, residents have raised more than $22,000 and have helped about 75 students.

“This event really helps break the cycle of poverty for high school students and their families in Lancaster,’’ Cori Steiner, manager of resident services at Willow Valley Communities and coordinator of the tournament, said in a news release. “I’m thrilled that we went over of our goal of raising over $8,000.”

District staff members, headed by Superintendent Damaris Rau, organized their own team for the tournament. Willow Valley residents, team members, families and vendors made up the remainder of the 18 tournament teams.

Rau said that while a graduating senior may be accepted to a college or trade school, application fees, downpayments, or other costs associated with the transition, may be prohibitive enough to prevent the student from attending.

“For some, a $200 fee might as well be $20,000,” she said in the release.

Willow Valley residents also tutor district students in academics and music; a pen pal program between students and residents help students practice writing. Willow Valley’s Sneakers for School Program has provided thousands of pairs of shoes and socks for Lancaster schoolchildren.

West Fallowfield

community cleanup day

On April 13, about 200 West Fallowfield Christian School students and parents picked up trash along roadways and in local parks in the Atglen area. The school worked in association with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Annual “Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful” roadside trash pick-up program. The school in Atglen that draws students from Lancaster and Chester counties has participated in this program for 33 years.

The goal for the students is to learn the importance of taking care of God’s world and to give back to the community by taking part in this project, according to a school news release. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the school’s operating budget.