Anderson’s secret to success? Sharing the St. Jude mission with her students.
Each morning, during the daily announcements, Anderson would tell stories of St. Jude patients and teach students about the research taking place at St. Jude.
She even led students through a quick math lesson: if the childhood cancer survival rate was 20% when St. Jude opened its doors, and the survival rate is over 80% today, how much have treatments invented at St. Jude increased likelihood of survival?
“Once kids understood that their pennies made that difference, donations started pouring in. Students brought in money they had been given by the tooth fairy. Some kids brought in their allowance, or money they had earned cutting lawns over the summer.”
Hitting such a lofty first-year fundraising goal in such a short time was hugely rewarding for the Oak Grove Central community.
Their Math-A-Thon week culminated in a school-wide pep rally to celebrate the accomplishment. Students beamed with excitement and waved homemade signs that read “Oak Grove Loves St. Jude.”
For Anderson, the win was made exponentially better by seeing Oak Grove students develop empathy for St. Jude patients and their families.
Fundraising for St. Jude was amazing, and I hope that we continue doing this. But, one of the greatest rewards was when students would come up to us and say, ‘Thank you for giving us the chance to help the kids at St. Jude.’ That right there, that’s powerful. I hope that I’ve instilled something in them and that they continue to support St. Jude throughout the course of their lives.