Florida Pre-K teacher is St. Jude Trike-A-Thon Coordinator of the Year

Carmen Sanchez and the pre-K team at St. Theresa Catholic School have found the perfect way to teach their 4-year-olds that they can make a big difference even though they are small — the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon.

“We explain to our students that we are raising money for St. Jude children who are very sick and are their age and wish they could be riding outside,” said Sanchez of Coral Gables, Florida. “We help them understand we are going to be riding for children who cannot ride.”

Sanchez, who has coordinated the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon at St. Theresa since 2003, was named St. Jude Trike-A-Thon Coordinator of the Year for 2014. The school has raised more than $107,000 in 11 years. Three years ago, the importance of participating became clearer to students when a former St. Jude patient became a student at the school. This motivated the kids to raise more money, and this year they raised over $25,000.

The fundraiser is truly a community event. Parents, grandparents and older students gather to cheer on the young students as they pedal around the cone course outside. The three pre-K classes ride for 45 minutes each, and the principal and two assistant principals lead the charge by setting the pace in a golf cart. The St. Jude Trike-A-Thon also helps younger students live out the school ideal of service.

“Our little ones who are 4 can’t go out and help the homeless, but they can do this fundraiser and contribute in a major way through St. Jude Trike-A-Thon,” said Sister Caridad, OCD, the principal at St. Theresa. “It is a wonderful way to help them learn the idea of service and caring for their neighbor.”