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See a penny, pick it up in Scotia Glenville

For a local organization, the money that Scotia-Glenville Middle School students collected will literally feel like pennies from heaven. After two months of collecting every penny the students came across, a total of more than $2,000, will be donated to a local charity or organization.

Middle School teacher and GIVE service learning program advisor Allen Calhoun said the students collected the pennies starting in October and had a penny counting event on Friday, Nov. 30, in the school's gymnasium. About 25 30-pound burlap bags were collected by the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. He said the students were bringing plastic baggies in every day filled with pennies they found under sofa cushions, in their parents' cars, and on the sidewalk. Anywhere they could find a penny, they picked it up.

"The students became so involved with the project. It was truly a learning experience made fun for the children," said Calhoun.

He said the goal of the project is to raise money for a local group in need. The Penny Harvest began in 1991 in New York City and is now a program that is popular across the country. It encourages children to collect pennies and prove that they can be worthwhile to programs throughout their communities. It was created by the nonprofit group, Common Cents, and has proven that today's youth have an interest in philanthropy.

Last year, the Penny Harvest collections from across the country donated thousands of dollars to groups like the American Cancer Society; Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Red Cross. Calhoun said the middle school students will now take part in an in-depth process that will determine where and how they want to spend the money. Groups in the Scotia-Glenville area will have to fill out an application and then endure an interview process. The students will then hold roundtable discussions about whom they want to receive the money, and will even write mini-grants for the recipients.

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