Fifth graders at St. John School in Russellville have been able to take $100 from the school board and turn it into 26 framed paintings for a local Christian clinic and more practical skills in how to work in the community.
The school is participating its second year in the $100 Solution, which is inspired by a national program. The program believes “solutions to big problems start with small steps.” Students have completed 300 projects in 15 countries so far.
The 11 students in fifth grade worked with their teacher Terri Kobs to present a request to the school board for $100 to buy frames, brass plaques and hanging supplies. Pastor Father Jack Sidler said the school would give them $200 and then said someone else would match the $200. Another person added in $100, making it $500 the students got through the school.
The students wrote letters to 16 local artists to donate their creations to the River Valley Christian Clinic, a charity based in Dardanelle that offers medical, optical and dental services two evenings a month. With the $500 in hand, the students will frame and hang the artwork in the clinic May 2.
“It was just bare walls,” principal Mark Tyler said of the clinic, “so the students decided to get them artwork.”
Last year the fifth graders supported the Russ Bus, a homeless program. The students got wood donated from Lowe’s and used the $100 for other materials to make food boxes to protect the food for the homeless who live in a camp near town.
Kobs said the goal of the $100 Solution is to find a project where the students can partner with others in the community and can be sustainable. Her students brainstormed 18 different projects and narrowed it down to the clinic.
“They really wanted to help people who didn’t have health care,” Kobs said of her students.
As soon as the letters went out, the students began receiving oil paintings and photographs, some of which were already framed and valued up to $350.
“With 11 students and 11 different ideas, they really listened to one another,” Kobs said. “They worked very well together. They drafted their letters and they made a presentation to the school board. … They will report back to the school board May 10.”
With a partnership with Arkansas Tech University, the students will host a reception at the clinic Sunday, May 7 for the artists, parishioners and parents. The students also collected toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss for the clinic. Any money left over will be donated to the clinic for their unmet needs.
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