Sparrow Club (www.sparrowclubs.org) was introduced to our school a few years ago by my Language Arts colleague, Laura Queen.
The organization itself started several years ago when a Washington teacher’s son was diagnosed with cancer, and his insurance was unwilling to cover the cost of the treatment to save his life. When one of his students, a misfit boy with health problems of his own, emptied his bank account of fifty dollars to give to his teacher, it started a chain-reaction, and kids throughout the community eventually raised a quarter of a million dollars to pay for the treatment to save the life of their teacher’s son. Tragically, the misfit boy who started the whole thing died shortly after.
In the years since, it has flourished, giving schools the chance to ‘adopt’ a single child (their Sparrow) and do all kinds of things to raise money for him or her. But it isn’t so much a fundraiser as it is an opportunity for kids to think beyond themselves and perform community service to aid a single ailing child in need. When Laura first introduced the club to the staff, I was skeptical, especially since it had been my experience that the kids at my school were largely indifferent to anything beyond themselves.
How wrong I was. When we were first introduced to our Sparrow, a 13-year-old with leukemia, the outpouring was enormous. How the club works is this...kids go out into the community to perform community service (i.e. volunteering, cleaning up parks, etc.), and for every hour they work, sponsers contibute $10 help help the Sparrow’s family with medical costs, travel, etc. In addition, we held several events at the school (staff vs. students basketball, bake sales, car washes), and all the proceeds went to this single child we adopted. All told, we raised over $15,000, nearly all of it through the initiative of the students at our school, who thought beyond themselves and rallied for a welfare of a single child. Best of all...our Sparrow was eventually cured!