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Record Number: 9561
Displayed from: Feb 06, 2013 , until: May 31, 2013

Fort Wayne Community Schools kicked off its sixth annual Kids Caring & Sharing fundraising event for Riley Children’s Foundation today.

The kickoff took place at Bloomingdale Elementary School where students are in a “Snowball Fight for Riley.” For $1, students can purchase a snowball for their classroom. They can use the snowball to build a fort, snowman or other snow sculpture on a classroom wall. The class with the most snowballs by March 22 will win a pizza party sponsored by the Bloomingdale PTA.

Bloomingdale’s snowball fight is one of several events taking place this month as part of the Hearts for Riley fundraising event. Kids Caring & Sharing is a special project of the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP) to support Riley Children’s Foundation giving students a chance to help other children. Each year, FWCS sets a goal of becoming a Miracle Corporation, which means each school raises $1 for every student in each building. Last year, the District raised $31,977 with 42 of the District’s 50 schools participating. Nearly every school that participated reached Miracle School status and nine collected more than $1,000 each. For its efforts, Fort Wayne Community Schools was named a Riley Corporation.

“Riley has affected the lives of so many people in our community,” said Haley Principal Rebecca Dennis, who represents District 3 of the Indiana Association of School Principals on the Kids Caring & Sharing Advisory Board. “We have many students who have received or currently are receiving treatment through Riley. Students see what their peers are going through and want to do something to help, but they often don’t know how. Kids Caring & Sharing gives students a chance to support their friends and make a difference in the lives of others.”

While most FWCS schools participate in Hearts for Riley in February, some schools have already completed their campaigns for the year or plan events near the end of the school year. Several administrative buildings also participate in the fundraiser. Those not working in or attending an FWCS school can drop off donations at any FWCS building, including the Grile Administrative Center, 1200 S. Clinton St.

Riley Children’s Foundation supports Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Indiana’s only nationally ranked and comprehensive children’s hospital. Ten out of 10 medical specialty programs at Riley are ranked among the best in the nation in the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. Parents magazine has also named Riley one of the top pediatric standouts in the United States. Significant and broad-based financial support is required to sustain and expand groundbreaking, life-saving treatment and research, facilities and accessibility

Each year children from all 92 Indiana counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics more than 230,000 times, including more than 2,000 patient visits from Allen County and 5,700 patient visits from Northeast Indiana. Many of these children are also being treated at either Parkview or Lutheran facilities, and their doctors in Allen County work closely with Riley doctors. Of the appointments from Allen County, 222 are inpatients visits and 2,054 are outpatient visits. When students help Riley, they are helping their friends and classmates.

“The annual Fort Wayne Community Schools fundraiser serves as a shining example of the positive achievements possible through Kids Caring & Sharing,” said Jason Mueller, regional communications manager, Riley Children’s Foundation. “We are grateful for the continuous support and generosity of the students, faculty and administrators. Fort Wayne Community Schools understand the vital role Riley Hospital plays in securing a healthy future for patients. We are overwhelmed with the time and energy devoted towards helping children, and in some cases their fellow classmates.”

The partnership between FWCS and Riley Children's Foundation is of mutual benefit. In 2009, the Foundation awarded Blessings in a Backpack a $10,000 grant. Blessings in a Backpack seeks to end hunger among FWCS students by sending a bag full of food home with students every weekend. And twice, FWCS students were named Riley Champions, an honor designed to recognize the struggles Riley patients endure by raising awareness, sharing their personal journeys and participating in community service opportunities, such as organizing blood drives and fundraising. Bloomingdale fourth-grader Aleigha Sweet was named a Riley Champion in 2011, and Andrew Armstrong, a sophomore at New Tech Academy, was honored last year.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.