FWCS Kicks Off 8th Annual Riley Project

Record Number: 12526
Displayed from: Feb 03, 2015 , until: Apr 03, 2015

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

The kickoff took place at Harris Elementary School where students will have a Sock Hop for Riley on Friday evening. For $1 per person or $2 per family, students and their families can attend the dance hosted by the Harris PTA.

Harris’ Sock Hop 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 $34,516 with most of the district’s schools participating. Nearly every school that participated reached Miracle School status and 10 collected more than $1,000 each. For its efforts, Fort Wayne Community Schools was named a Riley Corporation.

“Riley Children’s Hospital has touched lives throughout our community,” said Harris Principal Jana Ankenbruck, who is leading the Kids Caring & Sharing campaign for Fort Wayne Community Schools. “Every school building has students and staff members who have relied on Riley. Many students have a classmate who is currently receiving treatment, and often they don’t know what they can do to help their friend. Kids Caring & Sharing gives them 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. Nine out of 10 medical specialty programs at Riley are ranked among the best in the nation in the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. 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 300,000 times, including more than 2,000 patient visits from Allen County and 5,000 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, 264 are inpatients visits and 2,042 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, assistant vice president of communications, 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. In addition, three FWCS students have been 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. Aleigha Sweet, then a second-grader at Bloomingdale Elementary, was named a Riley Champion in 2010; Andrew Armstrong, then a freshman at New Tech Academy, was name a Riley Champion in 2012; and Diana Overman, then a fifth-grader at Harris, was named a Riley Champion in 2014.

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.