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All things possible with the Dream Team

Article and photos by Elean Gersack

The Buffalo Ridge Elementary School’s Dream Team (DT) is just people helping people. The fifth grade crew, with the help of teacher leaders Jen Jacoway and Jolie Pinke, spent this year finding simple ways to help others.

“We help instill our school’s character pledge and make sure people are treating others well,” noted DT member, Olivia. The fifth graders have learned that it’s the little things like keeping the school tidy, offering a helping hand, and helping inspire positive attitudes that really matter. “If someone is hurt during recess, we want to make sure there is someone there to help them up,” added Josh.

As part of the quest to help others, the group worked hard throughout the year to offer financial assistance to groups in need. Early in the year, the Dream Team hosted Alex’s Lemonade Stand to support childhood cancer. Shortly after, the Dream Team adopted families during the holidays.

The Dream Team’s biggest effort, though, was The Penny Harvest. During a one-week period, they solicited pennies and other coins from classrooms and raised a remarkable $1,000. With the money ready to donate, the DT gave each classroom a vote for a deserving charity. Ultimately, the group drilled down to three: Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (GWRC), Denver Hospice and The Dumb Friends League (DFL).

The DT found a way to substantially support all three charities. Both the GWRC and Denver Hospice received $500 and the DFL received $250. DT member, Chris Cooper, raised the extra $250 for DFL single-handedly. Cooper requested donations to the animal shelter for his birthday in lieu of gifts. “I wanted to help the animals,” said Cooper.

According to DT member Ann, doing a hands-on project was really important to the group. So, in addition to donating cash to GWRC, students made rice filled socks for use as rest pillows for their injured wildlife.

Jacoway and Pinke’s leadership motivated students to be good school leaders and to become more aware of community need and the greater good. “They were enthusiastic and eager to do anything we put in front of them,” said Pinke and Jacoway.

In the end, the Dream Team members were proud, but modest about their efforts. “Thanks to the whole school. They are the ones who made it all possible,” said Lea.

Dream Team members help fill socks with rice to create resting beds for injured animals at GWRC. 



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