Students Show How $2 Can Impact Others

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ROCKFORD, Mich.– It is not just enough to read about others making a difference, for elementary school students in Rockford and Cedar Springs, it was actually part of a project they were assigned to do. With just a few dollars, the students made some great things happen in the lives of others.

We may not think $2 can go all that far. But, three groups of students from Parkside Elementary School in Rockford, and Cedar View Elementary in Cedar Springs proved that wrong.

“It doesn’t matter about the age, it matters about the heart and how you do it,” said fourth grader, Guinavier Waite.

When her teacher, Gail Falcinelli, gave students the assignment to go out and make a difference in the world, it sounded daunting at first.

Falcinelli, along with fellow teachers, Tim Woznick, Luanne Helsen, and Lisa Falcinelli gave each student $2 and encouraged them to use the money to help someone.

Their choices are anything short of amazing.

“I decorated food bags for the food bank and that really helped them out,” said Waite.

Classmate, Tyler Vander Laan, used his teacher’s $2 investment to help the organization that gave his newborn baby sister life-saving blood hours after her birth. He chose Michigan Blood.

“So far I have $957,” said Vander Laan. “I’m hoping it will help others donate bone marrow. It’s $100 per person. So, say they are low on money, I would pay for their testing.”

“My idea was to donate bubbles and make cards to the children’s hospital,” said Lauren Lewis. “I thought this would be really nice to do this because they just had surgery and I wanted them to be happy.”

Other students chose to help kids thousands of miles away, in Haiti.

These nine and 10 year olds proved that there are no limitations to how you can help someone in need.

The purpose of this assignment is not just about collecting the most money, but about being thankful for what you have.

For more information about Michigan Blood’s Marrow/Stem Cell Programs and how to join the National Be the Match Registry, contact 616.233.8516 or check out  

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  • Marissa

    This is truly awesome. I know of a girl that asked for only money or dog food for gifts for her birthday, so she could donate it to Bellowood Dog rescue in Cedar Springs. Another little girl that was able to donate over 1000 diapers to the Alpha Women's Center in Cedar Springs.

  • Rockford Mom

    I am so proud of all the kids that took part in this challenge. This has been a remarkable, life changing experience for them and now hopefully it will inspire others.

  • David

    Mrs. Falcinelli was my second grade teacher (in 1980). Aside from my mom, she was the best teacher I ever had. Great to see she is still a positive influence in the lives of young people. Thanks Mrs. Falcinelli!