Holy Cross Catholic School (HCCS) launched its E.P.I.C. (Everyone Partners In Catholic Education) fundraising initiative in November, to not only raise money for operating expenses of the school, but also to provide memberships for all HCCS students and staff to the Defiance Area YMCA.

At that time, HCCS announced a partnership with the “Y” to deliver enhanced social-emotional services for Holy Cross students, with the need on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the calendar getting ready to turn to 2021, HCCS marketing director Aileen Meyer has announced the school has reached its fall fundraising goal of $30,000 for operations, as well as raising enough funds to provide a membership for all Holy Cross students.

At present, the HCCS is in need of just $5,000 more to reach its $30,000 goal to be able to provide memberships for all HCCS students and staff members.

“We couldn’t be happier, this has been a huge success thus far,” said Meyer. “We’ve reached a lot of milestones along the way, not only to secure funding for the school, but to be able to provide more services around social-emotional learning (SEL), support and stress management by partnering with the ‘Y.’”

According to casel.org, “SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships and make responsible and caring decisions.

“SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum, and instruction and ongoing evaluation.”

Meyer shared the partnership with the YMCA will allow HCCS students and staff to take advantage of the YMCA’s wellness and leadership programs by integrating them into its SEL curriculum. The partnership also will enable the school’s physical education (PE) program to go to the YMCA for special PE units.

In order to reach their fundraising goals, the students were asked to take part in the campaign.

“We told the kids they were going to participate by helping to raise money to help keep the cost of tuition down,” continued Meyer. “We talked to the kids about the cost of tuition and how this campaign helps their families, and that really inspired them. Some of the kids said, ‘Wait, my parents have to pay that much for me to go to school here?’ They really took fundraising to heart.”

If each class met its fundraising goal, that class took part in a fun activity.

“We set a goal for each classroom, asking each student to try and raise $250, and when a class met its goal, they were given a glow party,” said Meyer. “We transformed our Leader In Me room into the party room, decked out in LED black lights, party lights and neon painted posters. A party included music, dancing and an age-appropriate activity, and each party was unique.

“Individually, there were awards for the kids if they hit fundraising goals,” added Meyer. “For example, when a student raised $100, they got a pair of LED gloves, which are very cool. Another reward we have is, if a class has 100% participation in fundraising by the students, they got to Silly String their teacher.”

Meyer shared the campaign has been a success due to many individuals and entities from the community who have supported their effort.

She shared a Metalink worker was at the school and donated money to help a classroom reach 100% participation, and a teacher’s brother also donated to different students so that his sister would get hit with Silly String by her students.

“None of this is possible without the generous support of the community,” said Meyer. “We’ve had a number of restricted gifts that go to pay for our YMCA memberships, and now we just have a little bit more to go to underwrite the memberships for our staff members. Once we have that in place, we’re going to be able to do a lot for staff wellness, in addition to the physical education component of taking our kids to the ‘Y’ for class, as well as their memberships.

“We are looking forward to finishing off our fall fundraising campaign, getting those ‘Y’ memberships in place for our students and staff, and helping our kids getting back to being kids with help from the YMCA in a Christian-based environment,” added Meyer.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, call 419-784-2021, or go to defianceholycross.org. For more information about the Defiance Area YMCA, call 419-784-4747 or go to defianceymca.org. To donate toward the fundraising efforts, go to defianceholycross.org/support.

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