by Sarah Dianich, SAVE Advisor of the Year
December is “the most wonderful time of the year” for many, but it continues to be diffi cult for those who suffer from poverty, isolation, and violence. Therefore, it’s the perfect time to “Reach Out through Service,” SAVE’s focus for the month. With the power of your SAVE chapter behind you, so many possibilities for service exist – all you need is a little planning, some feet on the ground, and a whole lot of giving spirit! Mukwonago SAVE’s most successful fundraiser (and our whole high school’s perennial favorite) is the Penny War – for nine years, we have urged our staff members and students to “break out those piggy banks, sweep under those couch cushions, and compete against your peers.” The reward is two-fold: our SAVE chapter buys the winning class breakfast, and the whole school can feel good knowing that amidst all of the fantastic competition is a good cause: All of the proceeds are donated to local domestic violence shelters. We have donated almost $8000 to the shelters thus far. If you’d like to try this at your school, here are the rules: The class (we have fi rst hour classes compete) with the most pennies wins. The best part is that you can sabotage other classes with your non-penny coins and bills, which subtract from their penny totals. For example, if you have 800 pennies, but someone puts two dollar bills and a quarter in your bucket, your total points are 575. It’s the sabotage money that really adds up quickly! We also like to spread the giving spirit to all of our students through activities such as candy cane giveaways at lunch – buying buckets full of mini candy canes is fairly inexpensive; then, SAVE students attach positive messages to each. Another idea is a “Pay it Forward” activity, encouraging students and staff to do a good deed and urging the recipient to pass one on. Food drives, book drives, coat drives, and toy drives are all excellent projects for SAVE chapters as well. One of the best gift sharing ideas I’ve heard is giving a Christmas to families with a parent who is incarcerated. Or creating care packages for the homeless (there are thousands of step-by-step ideas for these on Pinterest). I also know groups who send cards or care packages to soldiers. Truly, anything is possible. So many people are in need, and so many more have giving hearts – as SAVE members, we can supply the opportunity! Here’s to a December fi lled with peace and service!