Helping the Community with Spare Change: Coins 4 Kids


Anna Kaganova, Editor

Coins for Kids is an initiative at our school during which Peer Leaders walk around in lunches and collect spare change from people into designated cans. All proceeds are donated to a local hospital – CentraState Medical Center – at the end of the school year. Collections are done every day of the week, and the weekly results are tracked on a poster board outside the Cafeteria doors.

 Mr. Gualteri came up with the idea for C4K a couple of years ago. He wanted to go up to a local hospital and start a wishlist of kids who, unfortunately, had to spend the holidays at the hospital. Seeing the floors of the locker rooms are always littered with change, he realized that a lot of students lose tons of coins at school – but if the leftover change was collected during the school day, it wouldn’t wind up in the floor on the locker room and could instead be used for a good cause. Mr. Gualteri then approached Mr. Leahy with the idea, and so Coins 4 Kids was started.

Each year, the money raised by the initiative is directed to a different item that the pediatric unit of CentraState needs. In their first year, C4K used the money to buy the children stuffed animals called Wellefants, and every kid admitted to the hospital recieved a little plush animal. Peer Leaders made an effort to go to the hospital and hand deliver the elephants, and it was great to see the kids light up with joy at the sight of a new toy.


During the second year, C4K helped to buy new flatscreen TVs for the pediatric playroom and update some equipment at the hospital. Last year, pediatric wheelchairs were bought with money that the club raised. The money has not yet been allocated for this year, but CentraState is expected to let the club know what they need very soon.


Last year, the club had a private donor who gave $1 for every $2 the club collected, and in total over $3000 was raised. This year, the goal for the school is to collect at least $2500. Every year the club has increased total money raised, and collections continue to go up.


Peer Leaders embrace the project, and do their best to raise the $125 weekly goal. Pairs of Peer Leaders are assigned lunch blocks for the week, and some get very creative with how they raise the money. The team who collects the most money receives a C4K-themed t-shirt through an incentive sponsored by CentraState. A logo competition is also held across the artists of the school to design the Coins 4 Kids t-shirt.


The reception by the rest of FTHS students has been phenomenal as well, and they prove indispensable in helping the club reach its goals. The response is especially strong as the program begins after winter break and as it comes to a close right before spring break. To help the club even more, you and your friends can brainstorm new, creative ways to get spare change: everything from scouting your couches at home to cleaning out the car trays in the senior parking lot can be of help (you’d probably find at least $200 by looking through the locker rooms!).


Finally, this article would like to acknowledge the work of Mr. Gualteri, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Dohan, Mr. Mehl, and all the Peer Leaders over the years who have taken part in this for making Coins for Kids possible. C4K provides an incredibly valuable service to the community, and it can lead to greater things down the road as similar kindhearted projects spring up across the school.


A special thank you to Mr. Leahy and Mr. Gualteri for helping me out with this article!