Students at the Journey Elementary School made donations to three charities in Casper through a new school program.

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The program involves all students at Journey earning "hero bucks" each quarter, which they can spend on various things like snacks, crafting, extra playtime, or donations.

The hero bucks that are used as donations were matched by other people who donated real money to each of the three charities.

Kindergarteners and first-grade students had $520 donated to the Orr’s Hope Foundation, 2nd and 3rd-grade students had $695 donated to Make-A-Wish Wyoming, and 4th and 5th-grade had $850 donated to the Casper Humane Society.

The hero bucks program, which was started at the beginning of the school year in 2021, was started because, as 4th-grade teacher Becky Junge said, to show students they can make an impact.

"We wanted to create an opportunity to expand on this understanding to the entire building, and begin laying the foundations for financial literacy and how we can give back. It is important for kids at an early age to understand that they can have an impact!"

Jim and Shannon Orr, Brettnee Tromble, and John Miracle were the people who made the actual donations to each organization based on what the students chose.

The Orrs donated to the Orr's Hope Foundation, Tromble, who is a board chair for Make-A-Wish Wyoming, donated to Make-A-Wish Wyoming, and Miracle donated to the Casper Humane Society.

Ali Orr, a board member for the Orr's Hope Foundation and former Journey teacher, said it's important for students at a young age to know that they can support their community.

"Partnering with students at such a young age teaches them the idea of philanthropy and being able to give back to their community. When they begin in kindergarten, it's going to last, hopefully, through adulthood."

First-grade teacher Stephanie Soliz said she is proud that her students donated to the Orr's Hope Foundation.

"I have been very proud of the kids. I have had several kids in my classroom that have told me they would rather donate their money instead of spending it on themselves at the school store."

 

Serena, a 5th-grade student, said they are glad to be able to help animals with their donation.

"I think it's really cool because we are able to help and make it so the animals can survive. I think it's cool because turning school money into real money can also help them! It makes me feel good that I have helped other people!"

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