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Above: Cents of Pride stores, hosts and sponsors.
In the News - Cents of Pride Program Expands
In the "business" of funding grants that encourage and support children's needs, health and human services, education and more in southwest Missouri, the Musgrave Foundation finds no shortage of need. However, sometimes old needs are met in new ways, and the now two-year old Cents of Pride program, with the help of the Musgrave Foundation, is doing just that.
Originating in Springfield, Missouri as a partnership between Disney and Weller Elementary Schools, the program allows elementary students to help each other through donations and stores at local schools. A host school (one with a high povery rate) is connected with a sponsor school (one with a more affluent student population). Families in the sponsor school donate new and gently used items ranging from toiletries and clothes to toys, books and more. Items are collected and organized by student and parent groups at the sponsor school and periodically delivered to the Pride Store at the host school.
Host school students earn "Good Behavior Bucks" that serve as the currency for purchases at the store, usually open on Fridays twice a month. Volunteers from the sponsor school run the store, often acting as shopping consultants and recognizing the faces of those they are helping.
Multiple benefits result:
- Being allowed to shop at the Pride Store is an incentive for good behavior at the host schools.
- Students who shop at the store build self-esteem by earning the "money" themselves.
- Shopping at the store teaches priorities and values; many students select items for family members and develop their own sense of giving.
- Sponsor school students gain leadership skills in collecting and organizing the donated items.
- Sponsor school students and parents gain a better understanding of those less fortunate in our community and see their efforts directly making a difference.
After just two years the program is serving 6,200 families. At the end of the 2010-2011 school year, Pride Stores have been established in six low-income elementary schools in Springfield, and at least eight other schools are serving as sponsors. View the related video at right.
Funds from the Musgrave Foundation fund start-up costs for new schools as well as some indirect costs. Plans for the simplistic program are to expand to other Missouri communities and beyond.