Fourth-graders use homework as way to raise money for veterans

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on January 16, 2019 with No Comments

Portage Exchange Club member Brad Clapp accepts a $700 check from Central Elementary School's Student Council member Sydney Scott. The Council raised $700 with a Homework Pass fundraiser and donated the money to the Exchange Club's Veteran Matters Project.

When you were in school, how much would you have paid to get out of a homework assignment?  If you knew the money was going for a good cause, how much would you have paid?

The Student Council of Central Elementary School in Portage used a “$1 Homework Pass” as a way to raise money to house homeless veterans. They donated the money to the Portage Exchange Club’s Veterans Matter Project.

Last year, the project raised about $200, but this year the students far exceeded that amount.

Brad Clapp, Exchange Club member, Air Force veteran and father of Central’s first-grade teacher, Angie Clapp Cruz, was invited to accept the check.

Clapp said, “I was invited to Central Elementary School on Dec. 21 to be presented with a check from the Student Council.  Little did I expect anything like the check I received! This year the council proudly handed me a check in the amount of $700!  I thought I had read it wrong at first, but they assured me it was correct. “

He explained, “It seems the fourth-graders always have lots of homework given to them over the Christmas break, so the fourth-grade teachers allowed them to pay $1 for each assignment that they were to be given. That made a big difference in the amount raised this year.”

Teacher Angie Cruz added, “All grades (K-5) participated in purchasing the homework passes. Each grade set the criteria in using the passes, so it varied per grade.  The passes were sold for a whole week and could be used as grade level teachers determined. “

The Portage Exchange Club has participated in the Veterans Matter project since 2015, when the National Exchange Club began partnering with an organization called Veterans Matter, founded by comedian Ken Leslie.

Leslie found that there were programs to help veterans once they were in a home, but the $740 down payment needed up front was often a stumbling block.  There were no resources to provide that money for them.  By creating Veterans Matter and partnering with the National Exchange Club, he has been able to provide that money for thousands of vets.

As Leslie wrote in his December 2018 Situation Report, “Ask anyone affiliated with Veterans Matter, ‘How do you house 37,000 homeless veterans?’ and they’ll respond, ‘One at a time!’  Last month the power of 1 could not be more evident as when you housed our 2,600th veteran in 21 states nationwide, and you housed every single one of them, one at a time.”

In the past three years, the Portage club has been able to provide the monies to house 12 veterans.  Now there will be 13, thanks to the Homework Pass fundraiser.

Clapp shared this with the Central Student Council members.

“I told them that they alone housed a veteran and his family this year, and you should have seen the smiles. Their faces were beaming!  If you know any child or teacher from Central Elementary, please tell them how proud we are and how thankful the Veterans Matter project is because of them.”

For more information on Veterans Matter, go to www.veteransmatter.organd for information on the Portage Exchange Club, see https://www.facebook.com/exchangeclubofportage/

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