Raised in just two weeks, the money will fund equipment, athletics, clubs and field trip bussing
By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Forsythe Middle School’s Peer Mentoring class sure knows how to put on a fundraiser.
The school needed to do a whole school engagement campaign to meet its Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools commitment. Within the fundraiser was an awareness campaign.
“We wanted to spread the word about the peer mentoring program and what it is and how it is connected to Special Olympics UCS,” said Delia Powell, Forsythe’s adapted physical education teacher and athletic director. “Not only did we raise $45,000 but the students have a better understanding of the importance of unified sports.
The money will be used to fund equipment, athletics, clubs and bussing for field trips.
Powell said the main goal was to raise awareness about our peer mentoring program and what it means to be deemed a Unified Champion School by the Special Olympics.
“This fundraiser allowed us to not only raise awareness but also raise the funds we need to continue building our program,” said Powell, noting that students and staff alike got involved. “Because we made learning fun by using the strategies of this GAME ON fundraiser, now every person in the school knows what inclusive sports and inclusive youth leadership is and why it is important to every student, not just those with disabilities.”
Peer Mentoring is a program that guides and facilitates opportunities for mutually beneficial social interactions between typically developing students and those with social and communication challenges.
One of the most exciting aspects of the fundraiser, she said, was that Forsythe raised enough funds to qualify for a Day of Awesomeness on June 7, an interactive field day that gave students something to look forward to and created a lot of excitement. Due to a threat of rain, the “Day of Awesomeness” was held indoor on Tuesday. A company set up and took down the interactive games and booths in the gym that all students got to enjoy.
“Our peer mentors are amazing,” said Powell. “They are really dedicated to the students in the class. They serve as mentors, demonstrators and friends to the students with disabilities. The mentors even participate in inclusive sports outside of the classroom like when they attend unified bowling with students from High Point School.”
“We wanted to spread the word about the peer mentoring program and what it is and how it is connected to Special Olympics UCS. Not only did we raise $45,000 but the students have a better understanding of the importance of unified sports.
Powell quoted Tim Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, who said: “It’s not just about disability, it’s about all kinds of moments when you can choose to include; on the bus, in the cafeteria, in the hall, in the classroom. There will be moments when you look across the room and see someone isolated, someone left out, someone lonely, someone challenged, someone made fun of, someone humiliated, someone not included. And the question you will face is will you choose to include that person or will you move on.”
“I’m hoping that our students choose to include,” said Powell.