Penny Wise

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    SPARTA-It all started because one mother wanted to show her daughter she could make a difference in this world. When it was over, Sparta children had collected over $1,400 and extended a helping hand to other children halfway around the world. Helen Morgan Elementary School first-grader Meaghan Scotland watched on television the children left orphan by the tsunami and she tried to imagine what their life would be like without their parents. It was this thought that made Meaghan so upset that she wanted to do something to help them. Her mother, Yvette Scotland wanted not only to make her daughter feel better but also teach her she could make a positive difference in the suffering those children were enduring.  Scotland and two other moms with children in first grade, Marianne Petrucci and Cheryl Mayer, organized a change drive at the school. To collect the donations the group placed in each classroom piggy banks, which were hand-pained by Cheryl. "At first, our expectations were very low. We were expecting the students to contribute pennies, hoping it would amount to around $200," said Yvette. "But we were pleasantly surprised to issue a check to the American Red Cross in Newton for $1,416.33."  The amount of change collected was so large in fact that Valley National Bank allowed the group to use a change machine to sort the coins. The change drive was held from Jan. 31 through Feb. 16. On Friday, Feb. 18, the school hosted an assembly to present the donation to the American Red Cross. "When we announced the total sum that was collected to help the people, the children were so excited, they were screaming and clapping," said Yvette. "They really enjoyed the whole experience and saw that they could make a difference."