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NJ Students "Pay It Forward" With Big Results in Their Community

Edgarton Christian Academy in Newfield, N.J., recently developed and implemented a “Pay It Forward” project for its eighth-grade class that led to big rewards for its participants. As reported by The Christian Postthe project challenged the students to take $40 each and fill a need in the community. Students considered the project intimidating at first, but the students ended up creating more than 10 service projects benefiting all kinds of local charities and needs in their community.

“We didn’t require students to set a specific goal, we just asked them to find something they’re passionate about and assured them that their plans would fall into place once they found an organization in need,” explained Melissa Knapp, project coordinator. “The goal is for the students to see that one person can make a difference in someone’s life. It’s a very emotional thing for me. They took it to heart and found something of meaning to them.”

One pair of students combined their $40 stipends and solicited donations for a raffle to raise funds for a local guide dog school. Two other boys met a need to provide clothing for veterans associated with the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home. Two girls in the class raised money for a family whose mother was suffering from breast cancer. One student raised $750 to be donated to a local equestrian ranch that provides therapeutic riding classes for special needs kids.

Students will write essays about their experience and will read them as part of their upcoming graduation ceremony.

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.