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Originally published October 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 11, 2007 at 2:46 PM

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Penny-wise students make a difference

A penny here and a penny there added up to some very real money last year at 30 Seattle-area schools. Students collected a total of $41,543...

Seattle Times education reporter

A penny here and a penny there added up to some very real money last year at 30 Seattle-area schools.

Students collected a total of $41,543.31 — roughly 5 tons of coins — that they donated to community groups.

Fundraising, however, is just one part of the Penny Harvest program. The main goal is to teach leadership skills and show students that they can make a difference in their communities. The organizers chose pennies because that's something nearly every child can contribute.

Students in many of the schools served on committees to decide where to donate some of the proceeds. (The rest is handled by a citywide youth committee. None of the money goes to administrative costs — that's covered with grants.)

At Northgate Elementary in Seattle, for example, a dozen students researched potential grantees and interviewed three or four of them. They gave $600 to ROOTS Young Adult Shelter in the University District, and $400 to North Helpline and Lake City Food Bank.

This year's Penny Harvest officially begins Oct. 22. Organizers hope to double the number of Washington schools participating. The deadline to sign up is Monday. For more information about Seattle's Penny Harvest program and the national effort, see www.PennyHarvest.org

Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or lshaw@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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