“Project Jack. Pay it forward.”
As soon as the Prairie City Elementary students in Krista Hemphill’s and Dylan Dunn’s fifth-grade classes heard that line, they were hooked.
Project Jack started in the Quad Cities area in memory of Jack Lindaman, a boy who was known for making others happy but passed away from spinal muscular atrophy in 2010. To continue spreading his spirit of kindness, the Realtor Foundation of Iowa provides $250 grants to classes for pay-it-forward projects.
The fifth graders immediately had ideas of how they could help others. When the classes found out their projects had both been selected to receive funding, the students set to work. Although the students’ passions led the classes in different directions for their projects, both were rooted in one of the key components of the Mustang Way: being kind.
Hemphill’s class chose to use the grant money to donate supplies to the Furry Friends Refuge in West Des Moines. The students also made animal blankets, and a group of class representatives volunteered at the shelter to help with cleaning and animal care.
Dunn’s class chose to make fleece tie blankets to donate to Children and Families of Iowa. The students made sixteen blankets to help keep kids their age warm.
When asked why they liked Project Jack, the PCE fifth graders commented “we are helping people while having fun making stuff” and “it lets people brainstorm lots of ideas to give to places and people who are less fortunate.” While the students set out to make an impact on their community through Project Jack, it is clear that Project Jack also made an impact on them.