According to Rotarian Beth Stafford, one of the books she read dealt with the issue of polio, and she talked to the students about the Rotary Club’s goal of eradicating polio through the dispensing of the vaccine. “I’ve never had such young kids ask what they could do to help,” said Stafford.
The students of Alice Molloy’s fourth-grade class decided to raise funds to help give polio vaccines to children in Third World countries. The children donated more than $100 in pennies and change, earned from various odd jobs. “They gave out of their own need,” said Stafford.
The Rotary Club’s polio eradication program is one its primary efforts, and is in part supported by the Gates Foundation. To further the dollars donated by the Washington School children, Stafford matched the student donation so that a full $200 would go towards polio vaccines. She also encouraged the students to write an essay on what they would do with $100, but not for themselves.
In June, several of the Washington Elementary School students and their family members joined the Rotary Club meeting to present their check in the amount of $204. Each vaccine costs 60 cents, of which 7 cents if for the medicine and the rest covers the cost of transportation and refrigeration. The efforts of the Washington Elementary School children will provide 340 vaccines.
“It helps them see their place in the world,” said Stafford. “It gives them pride to know they helped out.”